Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A Letter To Mama

Thursday, April 13, 2006

JUNE 28, 1929-APRIL 13,2005

Dear Mama,

Today marks the one year anniversary of your death. In some ways it seems like only
yesterday that you left us, and in others it seems like a lifetime. I miss you so much, and I long to see you again, but not in a wildly grieving way........In a "miss you, wish we could catch up on things" kind of way. So many things have happened in the last year. So many changes in my life.

One thing that has changed is that I can't walk down the sidewalk to see you whenever I want to talk and just sit together or share a meal. I treasure the time we had together the last few years of your life, and I can honestly say I have no regrets, nothing left undone that I wish I could go back and do differently.
Another thing that has changed is that I can't call you and ask you about a lot of these old family pictures. Like how old were you in some of them? Who is the guy with your brother, Elmer, in one of them? Is this my great-grandpa, or a great-uncle? Things that are gone now, because only you would know the answers. I think of something every day that I wish I could ask you about. I have even gone so far as to reach for the telephone before I remember you're gone to
Heaven to be with Jesus.
Jessica ha
s matured so much during Dad's and your sickness and your passing. I am so proud of her, and I know you were, too. She grew up a lot during that time. A lot of adults wouldn't have been able to handle the things she helped us do in the name of love. The doing of
those things matured her in a way that all the talking and studying in the world cannot do. It was good for her, and she can be proud of doing her part in caring for you and Dad. She is working hard to keep her grades up, and she got that scholarship you told her she could get if she only worked hard for it. She knows that I was the first of your 5 girls to graduate from high school, and she will be the first to graduate from college if she stays on course. She wants to do it for you, Ma. For herself first, but for you, too. You always encouraged her to dream big, and to work toward achieving those dreams. She is still focused on those dreams, Ma. Thank you for always being there for her, and gently pushing her to do her best. The results will live on beyond your time here on this earth.

Thank you, Mama, for passing on your sense of humor to
all of us girls and grandkids. You taught by example that humor can go a long way toward making a bad situation more bearable. I was looking for pictures for this memorial page, and in almost every single one, you're either laughing or smiling. You taught us that there is almost always something funny to laugh about in any situation. Thank you for that, Mama, it has helped so much to relive the happy memories we all made together as we emptied out your and Dad's apartment and divided up your life amongst the girls and our families. So few material things to represent the rich heritage of love you left to all of us. You may not have been rich by worldly standards, but by God's standards you were rich beyond measure. The legacy of Christian living you leave behind is priceless. Money cannot buy the raising you gave us girls, and the influence you have been on your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. If we bring shame on you, it's not because we weren't taught better. Thank you for that, Mama.

I think I miss you more at church and on Sundays than any other time, Ma. Sundays and holidays were always our gathering times. Even those who didn't go to church always gathered at your house for Sunday dinner and
catching up with family happenings. You were such a good cook and I still cherish learning to cook under your watchful eye. One of the best compliments anyone can pay me is to brag on my cooking, or say something I made is as good as something you used to make. That is truly high praise, in my book. Looking over the pictures as I was gathering photos for this tribute, I noticed that many of them are taken at the dinner table, with the remnants of the meal spread out before us. One of the things I learned from you is that preparing good food for our loved ones is a way to show love to them. It's a gift from our hearts, made by our hands, and given with love. Thank you for allowing me to learn from you, Mama.

Music was always a big part of our lives too, Ma, and I thank you for that. All kinds of music, but especially country music and gospel music. When I tried out for choir at school, you encouraged me. You sacrificed to buy me the dresses and outfits I needed when I made Madrigals and Sweet Adelines, our version of girl's barbershop. No Mama could have been any prouder when I made All-Region Choir, then All-State Choir. You sacrificed to come up with money when we went to choir festivals and had to stay in a motel overnight, and most of the time you chaperoned, too. Other kids hated it when their Mom's chaperoned, but I loved it that you came with me. I spent more time with you than the girls my age. We always had so much fun together. Always.....................Thank you for that, Mama.

Those Sunday afternoons often turned into church for us. We'd drag out the old songbooks and sing our hearts out. Dad's favorite song was "The Haven Of Rest", sometimes called "I've Anchored My Soul". You always wanted to sing "Mansion Over The Hilltop". Mine and your song to sing as a duet was "Suppertime", and I get weepy when I hear it now. Oh, the happy memories those songs bring back to me. The torch has been passed. Jessica sang "The Haven Of Rest" for Dad's funeral, and she sang for yours, too. She played the piano for herself both times, too. I wish you could have heard her play the piano before you left us, but you were so sick the last several months that you couldn't go to church. You were faithful as long as your health allowed you to go, though, and you set the example, even if some of us choose not to follow it. Thank you for that, too, Mama.

A year. A year without my Mama to talk to, to laugh with, to sing with, to cry with, to visit with and fellowship with. I can hardly wait to see you again, Mama. I miss you so much, but I thank you for teaching me and leading me the right way to go, and setting a Christian example to follow. I know you are with Jesus now, and I know I am going to be with you again soon. Daddy's probably jealous that I wrote to you first, but I didn't have this blog on the anniversary of his death, so I will write to him on December 19th. Just hang on, Old Coot, you'll get your letter soon.




Connie and Rob said...

I found you by way of meow's blog.

Just wanted to tell you that this is just a beautiful tribute to your mother. She sounds like she was just a wonderful person.

My mother and I are best friends and she has terminal cancer. It is going to be so hard to lose her but I know I will have so many memories with her.

Your photos are just great. I have many too! What treasures they are.

Thanks for letting me know that I can and will get through this.

Take care,

Joe Goodwin said...

That was a wonderful tribute to a life well lived.

Mike Goodwin said...

That is a loving tribute to your mother. You know she is up there smiling right now. I know you miss her so much, and this is a wonderful way to honor her memory. God bless her and your family.

Meow said...

That is an amazingly beautiful tribute to your mother. She would be so proud (I'm sure she IS proud). It must be terribly hard, losing your parents. I don't know how I will cope, when the time comes. I don't deal well with things like that.
I really enjoyed your photos ... your mum looked like a wonderful person ... she certainly did a good job with you.
Thank you for sharing you memories with us ... they are beautiful memories.
Hope you have a wonderful Easter.
Take care, Meow

Lisa said...

What a wonderful tribute, Diane!

green eyed girl on planet earth said...

That brought tears to my eyes , it was so touching and heart felt ,it must be hard to be without your parents ,you couldnt have done a more beautiful tribute,your Mom will be smiling from heaven. I really enjoy your pictures , My fav is your Mom in the red , she looks so warm and friendly. Thanks for sharing it ....take care

Diane said...

My Mom quit smoking almost 30 years before she died, but it caught up with her anyway. She had lung cancer that spread quickly over her entire body. She also had emphysema, and it is really what she died from. Her body just couldn't fight off both of them. We found out in February about the cancer, and she died in April. I'm just thankful she didn't suffer any longer than she did. We did everything for her, including nursing and changing her bottom, when it got that bad.
All that to say this: Don't let embarassment or tears, anything, keep you from saying what you need to say to her, doing what you need to do, asking what you need to ask. Don't leave anything undone between you, and do your best to take care of her now, so you will have no regrets, nothing left undone. Besides the fact that we are both Christians and I know that I am going someday to be where she is, my greatest comfort is knowing I have no regrets, and the slate is clean between us now.
I am sorry about your Mother's illness. I will be praying for you, and feel free to visit and comment. Welcome, new friends. :)

Diane said...

Joe and Mike,
Kind of seems appropriate to put you 2 together, since you're brothers, :).

Thank you for the kind words. It means a lot coming from 2 people I have come to respect so much. :)

Diane said...

Thank you so much for your kind comments.
As for coping with the loss of your parents when the time comes, read my advice to Connie and Rob above.
Mama was a wonderful person, and I don't say that just because I'm her daughter.
Have a good camping trip, and a Happy Easter, too. :)

Diane said...

Thank you so much. :)

Diane said...

Green Eyes,
Thank you for the nice words. My Mama was a warm and friendly person. I miss her every day, some more than others.

Having new friends like you and all the ones who have commented above really help, though. :)
Have a good Thursday, Green Eyes. :)

Johnny said...

Amen, Diane, Amen. I still miss her and always will. I regret not being able to say goodby to her before she left and that hurts deeply so I'll say it now. Bye MomoLou.

Diane said...

You knew Mama. You were taking care of Jon so Donna could help with taking care of Mama. Of all people, Mama understood. You know how much she loved Jon, and all of us. Even though you weren't here, you were doing your part, and she and we all knew that. If I never told you, thank you for holding down the fort at your place so Donna could help here with Mama and not have to worry about things at home.

I Love You.... :)

zztop357 said...

I don't you could have said it better.This is the first time i've cried since she died.I still have her phone number in first position on my speed dial.I won't change it.Because she's still number one to me.
I miss the hunting and fishing with Daddy,and the cooking and talking with Mom.
Thank the Lord we still have each other. Thanks Diane.
I miss you Mama.
Love you Diane.

Diane said...

Thanks, Sister. I love you, too. :)

BooMama said...

I just keep thinking how blessed y'all are to have had such a sweet mama, someone who laughed with you and sang with you and taught you all the things that really matter in life. What a sweet testimony to her life and her legacy.

Diane said...

I realize every day how blessed we are to have had our Mama. I miss her every day, too. :)

Thank you for your sweet words. :)

Sue said...

I came here via Rob & Connie's site.
What a wonderful moving tribute to your beloved Mom!
I lost my Mom 5 weeks after she was diagnosed with brain cancer. This Mother's Day will be the 4th year anniversary of her death.
I still miss her every single day of my life.
I'll be back to visit you again,

Sister said...

How blessed you are to have such loving memories! As I read through the comments, it occurred to me that it was no coincidence that I "happened" upon your blog earlier this year. As evidenced by the new people who visited today, your writings are truly heartfelt.

Diane said...

I left a comment on your blog. Thanks for visiting. Welcome, new friend. :)

Diane said...

You and boomama were the first ones to "find" me, and to welcome me to blogging. I'll never forget that, and I value your opinions and your friendship. :)

I am truly blessed, and I am very aware and thankful for that. Thank you for your encouraging words, and for being my friend. :)

Paulette said...

This is a precious memory to your mom. I saw your comment on Jenny's site, we are family. I peeked at your blog and liked it. Paulette

Diane said...

Thanks, Paulette, and welcome. Make yourself at home, and come back often. Nice to hear from some of Jenny's family, too. :)

Jenny said...

I love this, Dianne. Brought tears to my eyes. Your comment about how knowledge of the old days gets lost with the passing of those from previous generations--I think it's one of the primary reasons I storytell, especially about my family.

Your mom--and your relationship with her--was a treasure, IS a treasure, waiting for you in heaven!

Diane said...

Thanks for visiting, and especially for your sweet words, Jenny. I treasure my memories, and I can hardly wait to be with Mama and all my dear family and friends who've gone on before, but especially my Jesus. Oh, what a wonderful Homecoming!! :-)

I've got my ticket, and made my reservations, I dearly hope everyone else has, too. :)

Nasty Nashe said...

Diane, that was real sweet. I dont know what I'd do without my mom around.

It kinda teaches you to treasure and cherish what you still have, eyh?

Take care, D.

Diane said...

You truly won't realize how precious your Mom is to you, until she's gone. Savor, enjoy, cherish and glory in the precious time you have with Mom and Dad now, while you still have them. :)

It's good to see you in these parts again, I missed you, friend. :)

Heather Ivester said...

Thank you for submitting this letter to the Mother's Love contest. This is a beautiful tribute to your mom. Your words bring her honor and have already touched the hearts of so many people. God bless.

Morning Glory said...

Diane, this is such a touching tribute to your mother. I'm glad I've taken the time to read these posts you mentioned a few days ago on your blog.

It'll be 35 years on Saturday that my Mother died, and April 15 will be 5 years since Daddy died. I miss him especially, because I had so much more of my life with him. I'm posting about my Mother on Saturday.

Thank you for sharing these thoughts. They are beautiful.