Dear Momma: A Mother’s Day Letter

Dear Momma,

I had a good laugh today and, as always, I thought of you.  Of all my memories, the ones of you laughing are my favorites.  From the soft giggles to those tear-inducing, breath-stealing hoots, remembering your happiness is a wonderful comfort.

Whenever I see and hear your great-grandchildren laugh, I do so wish you could be there to show them how it’s really done!  But, as you taught us, we have to do things our own way and as we see fit.

Your lessons, at times, conflict, ya’ know.  You set a standard of moral guidance and common sense while encouraging – insisting – that we do what needs to be done.  Maybe they don’t conflict.  Maybe I just haven’t caught up with the wisdom of the teachings.  Making decisions on what’s right and necessary gets sidetracked by what’s convenient and advantageous.  But I’ll keep working on it.

Diane and I were out a couple of days ago and I saw something that triggered the “Momma would love that!” thought.  How many times did that happen in my travels over the years?  As much as you wanted to see the world, but didn’t have the chance, it was great to be able to travel for you “vicariously.”  Calling you from different places and telling you about the sights, experiences and, of course, the food was more fun than being there.  It seems the first thing I did, before unpacking, was to call you and let you know where I was.  Your shameless excitement and childlike delight in our “adventures” was priceless!  One of my favorite calls went like this:

Momma.  I’m eating Chinese food… in Hong Kong!”

You don’t MEAN it!” followed by ten (very expensive) minutes of me trying to tell you about a hole-in-the wall noodle shop – in whispers so as not to offend the locals.  Then we started laughing before your usual sign-off; “Eat something in my honor!”

And, of course, I did.

Then there was all the great fun you and I had talking – for hours – about words.  Puns, double entendres, word play, trying to see who could list the most repetitious phrases (“past history,” “close proximity,” “raise up”).  And I’ll never forget that “one raises vegetables and livestock, one rears children.”  Everyone thought us nerdy and nuts, but it was our own private fun and we didn’t care.

There were the competitions during “Jeopardy” and entire conversations made up entirely of quotes, dialogue and lyrics from the Bible, “Pogo,” “Gone With the Wind,” Abbott and Costello bits and songs of the 1940’s.

Hey, Mama!  We got a foot of snew.”

What’s snew?

Nothing.  What’snew with you?

I loved listening to you talk about “the war.”

How I miss that.

Despite all the time spent with you – and because of you – immersed in words and their importance, I can’t find the right ones to tell you how much I miss you.  I’ve scoured the thesaurus (yet another lesson) and can’t find the appropriate vocabulary to express the heart-ripping sadness I feel.  I can’t call you to tell you about the latest trip, joke or cuisine.  No more banter about grandchildren, adventures or goofy people.

My best source for finding the right words to tell you how much I love you and miss you … is you.

But, I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy.

I’ll think about that tomorrow.


/We lost our Mom to ovarian cancer in April, 2009. The night before she left, she and I, in her final hours of cognizance, talked and laughed. Those moments are among my greatest treasures.

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