Dear Mom –
It’s hard to believe you have been gone one year today. I still think of you every day especially at 9:00am. I have picked up the phone to call you at least 100 times. I wanted some advice, a pep talk, for you to tell me everything would be alright, or just for you to agree with me. You would be so happy to know that Donna Sue & I are the very best of friends. She has been like a Momma/best friend/favorite cousin all rolled into one. We talk at least 2-3 times a week. She has helped me so much - I knew losing you would be hard but not this hard. Hard for so many reasons.
I didn’t really grieve after you died. I was still on medicine from my aneurysm that numbed my emotions and I had to go into “take care of Dad mode”. I have actually been really...I mean REALLY mad at you. For the last two years you just let your health go. You blamed it on Dad but it was your fault. You’re the one that decided not eat. You’re the one who was stubborn. You’re the one that wouldn’t stop smoking. You’re the one who would not take the medicine. You’re the one who would not slow down. You’re the one who would check out of the hospital even though the doctors would beg you not too. None of this was Dad’s fault. None of this was my fault, or Allen’s fault, or Larry – you are the one that made these awful decisions and poor choices.
For years we have been waiting for Dad to die, at least the last seven years we have been anticipating it. He was the one that took 20 different pills and had all the “health” issues. It made me mad that you died first! You were so so so very mean to my Daddy, said such awful stuff, and wanted him to die so “your burden” would be lifted. Yet the burden fell on my Daddy and then me. I hope you now know how much your husband truly loved you. I watched my Daddy die a slow, painful, and sad death. He missed you so much and ached for you every day he was lost without you. He stopped eating, reading the newspapers, or playing on the computer. All he would do was sit in the blue recliner. Sometimes he would watch TV but most of the time would just sit in the silence and weep for you. And you thought he didn’t love or care for you. He was lost. I tried my best to fill his void but I should’ve buried him the day I buried you. I would bring him to the house almost every night for dinner and we would play rummy but he stayed confused most of the time. By August he stopped taking a bath and really messed up his medication. He would tell me every day how much he loved me and missed you. And I learned so much about my Daddy that ten months but I also watched him die a little each day and his memory get worse day by day. He finally stopped going to the cemetery – it was just too hard. The day before his death his told the doctor you died last month, I didn’t have the heart to tell him it had been 10 months. He thought John was 10 years old and well he just wanted to kiss on Christina. The last week of his life he couldn’t walk. He back was bend and he was unable to stand up straight. Something told me the end was near. Then seeing and finding my Daddy dead is an imagine forever burned in my memory.
But today is about you.
Am not mad anymore.
I am grieving your death and the death of my Daddy. As my doctor said “I am now an orphan”. Am sad.
You were a great Mother on so many levels. You always looked out for me and loved me. And rescued me. And let me have the better car.I called you one night in tears to tell you that Robert proposed marriage to me..”what do I do?” Your best advice – “honey if you have to call your Momma for the answer then you already know the answer!” That was pretty dang smart Mommy!I love how you loved your sisters. Especially this one. You both acted the same laughed the same and talk the same. That’s why it is impossible for me to call her now. She sounds just like you.Am sorry you had a tough childhood. Am so sorry that you never felt love from your Mother. I am trying to be a better Mother because of it.You were a great MaMa to all your babies. Christina seems to miss you most. Laying in bed at night she will tell me she misses you. I tell her that I miss you too. Thanks for all the fancy dresses you bought her. I have them hanging in her closest – still. Thank you for all the fancy dresses you bought and saved for me. Stina likes to play dress up and twirl around in the dresses.Thank you for the advice in 2006. You told me “go back to Amarillo and MAKE my marriage work!” I had a different plan Mom but your advice was right.You were always looking out for me and going on school trips with me. Especially when I was State Officer in FHA. I have a daughter now…I understand why you went with me.I was 5 months pregnant with John and the sonogram results were not good. I called you in tears. I was a complete wreck. The doctor told me half of John’s brain was missing and his heart was not developed right. You kept reassuring me John was fine and stop crying cause John could hear me cry! You would call me on your cellphone later that afternoon and tell me to come out in front of my house. There you were walking up my sidewalk with a freshly baked Pineapple Upside cake. I started to cry and you stop me and said take this and go inside. Then you left. It was one of the most loving things you did for me Mommy.Thank you for supporting & loving me even when you didn’t understand or agree with my choices.I miss you Gertie. I miss your hair. I miss your smell. I miss you digging in your purse. I miss you calling to tell a story I had already heard 500 times. I miss you. I miss your laugh, I miss you. I will always remember February 21st now.This next picture of you in my all time favorite picture you. You had finally quit smoking! You gained 25 pounds overnight and looked so good. I wonder what might have happened if you didn’t start smoking again.Mom – no one can replace you. I was yours from the beginning. I pray you are fully healed. I pray that you are with the people you missed the most. Hug Daddy for me.
And yes Mom…the circle has been broken.