It is never easy to say that final “good-bye” to someone, especially when it’s your mother. When it finally set in last year that her days were growing short, I wrote the below words and read them to her. Her first reaction was to tell me she wished she could have been a better mother, given me and my sisters so much more. I looked straight into her tear pooled eyes and said. “No Mom, you are a great mother. As children we may have had many wants, but it was you that made sure all our needs were fulfilled. You gave us your unconditional love.”
She was emotionally drained yet was able to whisper, in her own unique raspy tone that I miss so dearly, “You have been the best son a mother could have ever asked for.” It was then I broke down and we held each other until we both stopped sobbing. We spent the next hour lost in conversation, like the many we had had over the years. We didn’t even notice dad and Ezra had returned to the room, we were laughing through our tears.
I love you Mom and miss you more than anything.
I never thought in a million years that I would be writing this letter to you so soon. In my mind, I have been working on my grandmother’s letter for years, but life never goes as we plan so here I am trying to come up with the words that express all the feelings I have for you inside. How do I tell my mother what she means to me, how do I express those feelings to her?
I love you and because of you and your life, I have life. Everything I am is because of you.
One of my earliest memories of us goes back to the days when we lived in Town-n-Country. It was summertime and you took me to a new place, the library. It was a small space in a strip mall on the corner of Hillsborough Ave and Town n Country Blvd. You always had books for me at home, Dr. Seuss- Go Dog Go, ABC & 123, Green Eggs & Ham, to name a few. You read to me all time which helped me learn to read even before I began my formal education. You and I shared an intimate relationship with the printed word.
Stepping through that diminutive door into my first library was magical. My eyes opened to the endless possibilities of life. You ushered me into the children’s section letting me loose to browse the books on my own (telling me to take my time and that you would be ‘just over there’ finding a book for you to read). I started looking through the books that were similar to the ones we had at home, finding hundreds of them. When you retuned you found me on the floor with a half a dozen or so books trying to figure out which one to read first. That’s when you told me we could borrow these books and bring them home. “They wouldn’t be ours but we could have them for a few weeks at home to read”. I was ecstatic and I borrowed every one.
It didn’t take long to read those borrowed books and we found ourselves back at the library the next week and every week after all summer long. I quickly outgrew the picture books and found the young adult section where the books were filled with words more than pictures. You explained to me that in these books we (the readers) were required to make our own pictures in our minds. It was the author’s duty to paint those pictures with words and the reader’s imagination to create them. You let me pick out one of these new books for us to read together. That first book was “Stuart Little.” It was the cover that captivated my young imagination, a little mouse paddling a canoe through the grass on a river. That week we explored Stuart’s story together. It only took a few days to read that story. I remember reading it over and over again myself before we were able to return to the library for more. These new books were amazing, I was able to travel to far off lands, into outer space and beyond. Soon one book became three and then six and more. My thirst for reading has never been quenched.
My love for reading sparked a love of writing. Over the years I have attempted to express my life’s experiences through those very words I’ve been reading since I was a young child. But today those words escape me, there seems to be no words that can express the love I have for you. That love is infinite and holds no bounds.
I know each of us is on our own journey in life, the books you introduced me to have expressed that much. I cannot begin to fathom where your journey is leading next. It’s the one journey we all take yet no one has returned to write that experience down. Just know that I love you and one day I will make that journey to be with you again.
Your loving Son…