Last night I was watching a video Zoe had found about gratitude and happiness. In the video, people wrote letters to someone they were grateful for in their lives. Then they were asked to call that person and read them the letter if they could. This morning I woke up thinking about my mom. I am so grateful for all she taught me during her time here on earth. One of the things she taught me about was how to be compassionate towards others. Mom, I hope that you can read these words as I put them out into the Universe, that place where we are of one (uni) verse. That place where we are one with each other. I love you. If you were here and I had to read this to you, I would probably go through about three boxes of tissues.
Dear Mom –
It is hard to believe that you have been away from us for so long. I remember the day that Dad called me and said you had gone home. I remember him telling me how he had been with you when you took your last breath. I also remember him telling me how much I reminded him of you.
I am not quite sure I ever understood what he meant by that. I wish I had asked him while he was still with us too. I am grateful the two of you are together again. I know that the treatment for the prostate cancer made Dad weak, but I truly think he died from a broken heart. He was never the same without you in his life.
I would like to think that one of the things I inherited from you was my grace and kindness. I am often told that being pastoral is one of my gifts. The way in which you love always reminded me of the passage from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8which reads, “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” This is how you taught me to love.
I have been told that I have the patience of a saint. I think I got this from you too. You taught me that love would bring me through the good times and the bad times. I just needed to press on. Love is a choice you would tell me. You are so right, there are days that I look at Zoe and have consciously chosen to love her, and there are days I feel as if I am falling in love with her all over again.
I think I inherited your spirituality as well. I know you didn’t talk about your relationship with God, but you did demonstrate God’s grace in so much that you did. You used to tell me that God had a calling on my life and that my Hebrew Name, Sarah Bella, beautiful princess was about me being a leader who would be beautiful, loving, and kind.
I think I inherited your passion for fulfilling your calling in life, regardless of the consequences. One of the last things you remembered about me was the day that you and daddy brought me home from the adoption center. On that day, you carried me home and offered me an opportunity to experience a greater love than I would have known had I been placed in an orphanage. You taught me to open my heart to all those in need, because everyone was worthy of being loved. I know that your decision to adopt me was not an easy one. Doing so meant you had to go against what your parents wanted. However, it was not the first time you went against them – after all you did marry dad – and it was not the last time you went against what your father wanted you to do. I guess I inherited that rebellious spirit, the willingness to stand up for what I know to be right.
You taught me that a tough life does not have to harden one’s spirit. Rather, that one’s heart should be softened and filled with compassion and tenderness for others. You taught me to live with a spirit of love and compassion for all.
You taught me how to stick it out, how to not sweat the small stuff and find humor in things that would otherwise send somebody over the edge. I remember the story you used to like to share with about when you and daddy were first married. You would talk about how you lived in a small apartment that had mice, or were they rats. One night when daddy was studying, he thought he saw a mouse under the bed covers. He picked up one of his large texts to kill, or at least stun, the mouse. Unfortunately, it was your hand. While I am sure it was not funny then, it is one of those stories that is still powerful for me today.
You taught me to be clear on what I want in life and go after it. You used to tell me about all you went through to get my dad to notice you. You spoke about following him around and rearranging your schedule to fit his. When Daddy joined the science club, you joined and volunteered to be secretary. Your goal was to make him fall in love with you and you were successful. You never stopped loving him. Even when you were not sure what his name was, you maintained your love and attraction for him. I remember one year, daddy gave you a birthday card that did a wolf whistle. You would open the card, hear this whistle, and then begin to shimmy for him. Even during your final days, you still loved him. A day or two before you died, Daddy said to you “I love you.” You said, me too.
You taught me about the importance of family and the power of love. Your hope chest was always filled memories of each of us as we grew up. I am like that with Nick and Zoe. Building memories is important for me to do with them.
You taught me to love not just two legged people, but all of God’s creations. Until I had to put my own babies to sleep, I never realized how hard it had to be for you to put Puggy to sleep. I wish I had your love for gardening, while I can appreciate the flowers and such; I have no interest in digging in the dirt like you did.
You also made me value education. I remember you telling me once how much you regretted not being allowed to go to college. By the time you felt you could go, you felt you were too old to go. It was for these reasons that you encouraged each of us to get as much education as we could. I am grateful that you were able to see me receive my master’s degree, and wish that you could have been there to see me receive my doctorate. Every time I feel like giving up because it is hard, I remember how hard you and other women fought for me to have the right to not only receive, but also claim an education.
You were a woman of great faith. While you may not have professed your faith vocally, you lived it on a daily basis. Perhaps the most important thing was the unity of family. Whenever, I think of you I am reminded of the 1st verse of Psalm 133 – “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!” Growing up, you tried to promote family unity. This became harder and harder to do as my brothers and I grew up and moved away from home, but family unity remained important to you for most of your life. The thing that you hated more than anything else was when we were not kind or respectful to each other. I am still like that today.
I am sure there are other ways I walk with your spirit, but these are the ones I am aware of. Thank you for loving me unconditionally, for claiming me as your own, and always believing in me.