Sunday, August 23, 2009

August 23, 2009

Dear Mom,

It's been one year and seventeen days since last I saw you tucked in your hospital bed. A year of tremendous change that has filled my heart with joy that takes me to the tops of the mountains, and sorrow so deep it felt I'd fallen to caves far beneath the earth. Some days I've felt you guiding the sunlight my way, and other days I've felt as if the sun had gone entirely missing, blacked out by the pain of your absence. I've had about a month now of really, really hard times, missing you like I did near the beginning when I thought I would melt for the ache of your loss.

Our renter moved out, and now after a full year of having you gone, I am suddenly faced with your absence. He filled your space and made it his own, and now that it's gone all I can see is you're not here. Going down the stairway I see the holes where nails hung your many pictures of family. I know which hung where and whose face shined at you every time you navigated the stairs. I see your empty table and immediately my mind draws up the ghostly images of you sitting there paying bills or eating breakfast or working on your life story you left me to finish. I feel the softness of your touch as you held my hand when we talked. The poke to my backside whenever I bent over to help you with something. The racing heart and laughter when you jumped out at me from the storage room. I see your smiling face, your bitter tears, hear your gentle voice . . . but you're not here.

I don't know how to get over losing you, Mom. Sometimes I feel so alone, so abandoned by you and the rest of my family. I know you've been doing a work with them, a work you couldn't do here and have seen the changes in them for it. I don't resent that for them. I'm THRILLED that they get a piece of you, that they get your attention now. I know you've done what you needed to for me, for the moment anyhow, and I know I have to share--but still I miss you and can't help but be jealous that they get you now and I don't get to feel you near any longer.

I guess I feel like I've been shoved out of the nest when I'm not ready and that ground is coming up hard and fast and I can't figure out how to work my wings. Most days I'm afraid I'm going to splat all over the pavement. You were always there, lifting me back up when things got hard and I don't know that I ever learned how to fly.

I don't know how to express all the feelings that are weighing so heavily on me. Most days it feels like they're going to tear me apart, cripple me so much I'll never feel again. Some days I wish they would. At least then the pain would stop and I could function again. I had thought things would be better once the first year had passed, but I was wrong. It's as bad as ever and I feel more lost than anything. Why did you leave, Mom? Not just leave this earth, why did you leave me spiritually? I used to feel you close so often and now there's just an absence, a void where you once were. I've felt Daddy and Grandma around, but no Mom, and it's as obvious as the sun in the sky. You're not here.

Come back, Mom, even if it's just for a moment. Let me know I'm not abandoned, not forgotten. Help me remember I'm not alone.

Yours for eternity,


Saturday, August 1, 2009

August 1, 2009

Dear Mom,

I've been avoiding writing for ages again. It's so hard to deal with the feelings so I stuff them deep and pretend everything is okay and you're just gone on some extended vacation most days. I still haven't sold your truck. I can't seem to bring myself to let go of anymore of you than I have to.

I fell apart tonight. Bits and pieces of my walls crumbled down and I melted into a big dribbling pool of emotion. I didn't think I was going to survive this one. I couldn't catch my breath for the pain. Thankfully my four dearest friends came to my rescue tonight, sending their love and hugs via text and chat and somehow after exploding they helped to piece me back together again so I can think.

I've not felt you around much lately. I know you have to let go, just as I do. I know that I've never really cut the apron strings. It was just too hard. I liked the apron strings. They didn't sever even after you left and it's only now, when I finally see some success in my life, that you've snipped them and stepped away. For my good, I am sure, but still it hurts. I don't like standing on my own. I liked leaning on you. You were stronger, wiser, so much better than I and I miss being able to lean on you.

You were right, Mom. Right about so many things. You told me there in the hospital that I'd be okay and needed to let go. I didn't understand it, couldn't say it then, but you were right. I'm going to be okay. I feel it now. I still miss you. I ache for you every day, wake with memories of you bubbling through my head, and go to sleep with remembered kisses and bedtime songs. Sometimes I imagine you sitting at the side of my bed, stroking my hair like you so often did, and just being there with me as I drift into sleep. Other times I imagine you sitting next to me in the car and remember all the conversations we had together, whether on long trips or just a jaunt into Salt Lake. Of all my memories, I am most grateful for the time we shared talking and sharing our souls. I miss my friend in you the most.

It's finally happening, Mom. You always believed in me and my writing. You always told me it was going to happen, that it wasn't an "if" but a "when" and I always loved sharing that dream with you, living it for the both of us. My first thought when you took your last breath was a selfish one. She's never going to see me published. I couldn't help myself at the moment, but immediately after the realization came to me that you didn't have to see it. You believed in me so much that you knew it would happen. You knew it like you knew the sun would rise. Well, you were right. It's happening. I wish so much you were here to see my contract, to hear about all the exciting news and plans for my book, to see the cover when it's revealed. I want to sit at your bedside and read my drafts to you and play the "what if" game.

I want you to be proud of me. More than anything, I want that. I want to know that you are happy with what I've done with my life this year, that you are pleased with the changes and growing up I've been doing. I want to see you smile, have you wrap me in your arms, kiss me and say "I'm so proud of you." I know you would if you were here, but I miss seeing it, miss feeling your lips pressed to my forehead.

I miss you!

The boys are growing so much. They still speak of you every day. Teeny prayed the other night that you would be able to come back to earth when Jesus came back down and could come and be with us. Birdy comes and begs to sit on my lap, even at 10, because he aches so much for you. We all miss you, Mom.

I need to tell you something I couldn't tell you then. It's okay. I'm going to be okay. I'm letting you go now, Mom. You've got a work to do on that side and I'm holding you back. I've felt it. It's okay. Go do the work Father has set for you to do. I've found some more amazing friends to add to the gem I have in Shari and they are helping to carry me through. Thanks for bringing them into my life.

Go do your work, Mom. Just, please . . . if you wouldn't mind, check in every once in a while? It's so comforting knowing you're near and helps to remind me that there's more to this world than what I can see with my eyes or hear with my ears. There are some things I can only feel with my soul and you are one of them. Give daddy and everyone a hug for me. I miss you all.

Love for all eternity,


Thursday, April 16, 2009

April 16, 2009

Dear Mom,

I've been avoiding writing more letters to you for a while. I'm not entirely sure why, except that I think I'm afraid writing to you will hurt more than having to function on a day to day basis, but I'm finding that to be entirely incorrect. Not writing to you, not communicating with you in any fashion dries my heart a little more each day until it is becoming nothing but a dehydrated husk, likely to poof into dust and disappear entirely if I'm not careful.

This time of year has yet again been full of firsts. My first easter without you. No coloring eggs and hiding them with the kids. No Easter dinner. My first spring without you and you know how much you loved spring. As soon as the snow was gone you'd be out there with the rototiller preparing the garden and pulling out all the dead stuff. You always loved being outside and my heart aches with your absence. And then of course there's the upcoming Mother's Day. Mother's Day. How can I celebrate when you're gone? I always looked forward to finding the perfect gift for you. I'd spend months thinking on it and saving money. Last year it was the digital camera you used on your trip to see Linda and your grandkids. Gary has it now. I wish you'd been able to get more use of it. This year I'd hoped to go see Celtic Woman with you. I know how much you loved their music and the joy it brought to your heart. You were the one who introduced them to me and made me love them not only because of their gift of music, but because they touched you so greatly. I loved them because you did. But you're not hear to share that with any longer. Who do I go to see them with? It's just not the same going without you.

I feel like I'm just being whiney after eight months, but the pain never goes away. I felt you near often at the beginning, but I don't feel you anymore and it makes me desperately depressed. I want to be with you, but I don't want to die to get there. Couldn't you sneak me a visitor's pass to Heaven? Just a day pass? I wish so much for even an hour to finish talking about everything that didn't get said. Did you hear me say good-bye? Did you feel me rub lotion into your feet in those last few hours? Did you feel me hold your hand as you took your last breath?

I wish so much I'd been with you that last night you were lucid. I wish I had remembered to bring things with me and had stayed at the hospital. The guilt over your going downhill every time I left your side still sits heavy with me. Is it my fault you died? All these questions plague me until I think I'm going to go insane with the pain of it, but still there are no answers. Who do I turn to when I have no wise parents or grandparents left to guide me?

I'm lost, Mom. Please, come and find me. Help me find myself once more.

Yours for eternity,


Thursday, February 19, 2009

February 19, 2009

Dear Mom,

I’m missing you tonight more than I have in quite a while. I’ve not felt the need to write you a letters but the ache in my heart is starting to swallow me up again so once more it is time to reach out to you in the only way left to me.

I’m at LTUE this weekend and it’s wonderful, as always, but I found myself thinking of you quite often throughout the day. In the past I would call you between classes and tell you what I was learning or who I spoke with or this fantastic new idea for a story, but not today. Today it was just me and your memory. I have friends here, don’t get me wrong, and they are just as fabulous as they always are, but you’re not here. Knowing Gary is home with the kids instead of you leaves me with a completely different feeling than I usually have. I’m kind of scared, to be honest. I’ve not left him alone with the kids for more than a day and it’s stupid to be scared. He’s a great father and would never hurt them, not in a million years, but he’s not had to handle them alone for so long and they can be a handful, especially with the challenges they are going through right now. Birdy is about to send me through the roof, much as I love him. He keeps pushing me every way he can and I don’t understand why and don’t know what to do to get him to stop. It makes me not want to be around him, but I know I need to forgive him and still give him the love he needs, even when he screws up. I only wish I understood him better and knew how to get through to him like you did to me.

Maybe that’s not the best example. I know I was hard to get through to as well. I heard you, I just didn’t feel motivated to do what you wanted me to do. Stubborn, I guess. Maybe I’m pushing him too hard, but darn it, he’s got to pass in school and the way he’s going he just won’t. How do I encourage and emphasize the importance without being pushy? I know you can’t give me the answers, but if I ever wanted an instruction manual for a kid, it would be for him.

Birdy said the funniest thing the other day. He was crawling up the stairs and wouldn’t move so I playfully booted him in the bum and stepped down. Evidently he was lined up just wrong because when I stepped down he groaned and grabbed himself and said “Mom, you smashed my nerds!” I laughed until I cried. He can be such a hoot sometimes for being such a challenging child. I don’t know how you ever did it with six of us and kept your sanity. I’m struggling with two, and grateful as I am and as much as I love them, they frustrate me to tears. I wish I knew how to be a better parent. I wish I understood how to parent with love like you did. I keep trying to imitate you and the kids walk all over me. Evidently I’m doing something wrong.

It is so wonderful being here at LTUE and getting reacquainted with my writing friends again. They always motivate me to write again and build up my confidence in myself and my abilities. Julie is particularly good about that. She makes me actually believe her, that I do have talent, and that the only reason I’m not published is because I’m not submitting. Part of me knows that’s true, but another part of me is constantly doubting my abilities. I have decided to get my synopsis down to 1 page and submittable by the end of the month so I can start looking for an agent. I need to start earnestly trying and treating myself like a real writer. That means writing again too. Making it a priority and not just that thing I do when I can’t stand not writing anymore. It’s a part of me and is something I know I should be doing daily. I’m happier when I do.

I wish I could share my new writing with you. I wish I could run down the stairs and read to you like I always did. I loved hearing you laugh and seeing you cry in all the right parts. I miss my greatest fan, friend, and supporter. I miss you, more than anything. Sometimes I dream of pushing your hair off your forehead or smoothing out your wrinkled hand. Every once in a while I’ll feel your kiss on the top of my head, like you used to do so often, or will almost see you standing at the side of my bed and I reach my hand out for yours—but I can’t feel it. Nothing is there. Nothing I can touch anyway.

How do hearts ever heal from something so agonizing? How can one fill the hole left when Mom leaves? I don’t know how. I don’t even know where to begin so I take one day at a time, place one foot in front of the other, and try to keep smiling though my heart feels as if it’s been pierced with a thousand nails. A living pincushion, beating its pain with every pulse, shrieking for release when there is none to be found. I hope you are happy at least and finally able to reach your family in the ways you couldn’t when you were alive.

I just wish I could have a day with you knowing it would be our last. I’d love a chance to say good-bye in all the ways that meant the most. I’d hold your hand and listen to your stories. I’d rub your feet and bury my head in your shoulder for the greatest of all hugs. I would take the time to thank you for the gift of life and love you’ve given me and beg your forgiveness for the wrongs I’ve caused. I know you forgave me long ago, but I never forgave myself. I’m sorry I hurt you, Mom. I’m sorry I wasn’t a better daughter. I’m sorry I wasn’t good enough you could have stayed. I would have given everything I had for one single day with you. I guess I’ll have to wait for it in the eternities now.

Just know I love you with all my heart. I know you know that already, but I need to say it and I need to know you hear. I wish I could feel your arms around me now. You always had a way of making me feel better—safe in your love. Nobody loved bigger than you and I hope you get to continue sharing that love where you are now.

I can’t think of anything else to say and it’s getting late so I’m going to end. Could you find it in your heart to help Sheila gain some comfort too? She’s really hurting and missing you so much.

Eternally yours,


Saturday, January 24, 2009

January 24, 2009

Dear Mom,

I drove your truck to Bountiful today. I started missing you the moment I glanced down and saw your aqua colored gloves sitting by the gear shift. I can’t bring myself to give them away. Not only are they yours, but they’re your favorite color. They covered your hand, your flesh and blood hand, when the wheel was cold, and it’s one more piece of you I’m not ready to let go of yet. Silly, perhaps, but if I put them on it’s almost like I get to hold your hand. Your hand was in them and now mine is. It feels like we overlap then, like our DNA is dancing around together in your glove. Yeah, I know, it’s weird. I can’t help it.

I had a wonderful visit with Sean and Jenny, though it wasn’t as long as I’d have liked. It almost feels like it did when we were kids with Sean. I feel a closeness with him that I haven’t for a long time. I guess losing you has drawn us together and made us need each other again. When we were kids we needed each other because there was no one else to play with, though we always did enjoy each other’s company. Kind of weird that my little brother was always such a great friend, even though he does say I tormented him. I never meant to. Well, that’s not exactly true. Yes, I did mean to, but it was only because it was fun and he was my little brother so I could get away with it. It was just a way to get his attention because I liked him. Backwards, yes, but that’s the way siblings are, unfortunately. He’s devouring Brandon’s books and was disappointed I forgot the third one. I promised to take it back on Monday when I go in for my movie day.

After visiting with them I went to Bountiful and took Teeny to our favorite restaurant. Ahh, the memories in that place. It made me rather nostalgic and I shared some of those memories with your grandson. It’s still kind of hard for him to talk about you. I know he thinks of you often. His behavior tells me how much he misses you, but he won’t talk about you much. I wish he would. I know from experience how much unexpressed pain can hurt a person and build up to the exploding point. Not only is that harder on him, but in the end, it’s harder on all of us. I wish he would just realize that I want to be there for him. I’d love to listen while he talked, but that’s just not the way he communicates. Words aren’t his thing.

Everywhere I went today I thought of you. I wish you could have been with us. I would have loved to have the hours to chat like we always did and go see our old house and point out my old high school to my son. I miss your comforting words and your carefree laughter. I missed your veined hands and crooked fingers. I miss sharing beautiful music and funny e-mail with you. I still hear your voice in my mind sharing space with the characters in my head. Yours is different than theirs though. More solid. Real. I hope that will stay. It keeps a piece of you inside of me. It makes ME feel more real.

I wish I’d known that our trip to the hospital would be our last trip together. I would have been more patient and understanding. I wasn’t terrible, but was a little grossed out with what your body was putting out. I tried not to be, but I couldn’t help it. It hurt so much to see you in so much pain, but I thought you’d be in the hospital for an hour or two and they would fix you right up. It wasn’t until the very last day that I fully realized you wouldn’t be coming home. I didn’t get to tell you good-bye. I know I’ve written that before, but I know you know how that feels. That was always your greatest regret when Daddy died. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I heard you say “I never got to say good-bye.” I said my farewells, but not good-bye. They are completely different. You know how we were. Heck, if we were on the cell phone and got cut off, it wouldn’t matter how close we were to finishing the conversation, we would always call back just to say good-bye and know it was the end. No loose ends. No letting things hang, and yet I didn’t get to hear it from you in the end. I don’t know that I could have said it even if I’d known, but I wish I’d had the chance.

The tears are falling now, and though I know they help to ease the pain, it’s hard to let them go. I feel so often like I have to be strong, I’ve got too much to do to deal with the emotions, but I know that if I don’t I’ll bottle them up again and close myself off from the world and that’s not good either. I actually write better, feel better, and function better when I allow the tears to come. It’s painful for the moment, but when expressed I find more peace. It even helps me sleep better when I write before bed. Most nights I lay there for an hour or more with my mind racing, thinking mostly of you, the memories of our life together and especially the days and hours before your death coming back clearly. When I remember the last year or two, I think you knew your time was coming. I think that’s why you pled with the Lord not to take you until He knew I was ready. I’m glad he waited, but I still wish I’d had more time. I don’t think it would have ever been enough.

Shari has stepped in and filled many of the spots you left empty. She lets me bounce story ideas off of her and lets me ramble on about whatever is on my mind, much like you and I used to. I always enjoyed doing that before, but now I need it. She is a wonderful sister-friend and I’m so thankful to have her in my life. She seems to understand me in much the way you did. She sees beneath the surface and not only lets me be myself, but encourages and threatens me if I don’t. I love that. It’s nice being with someone who loves me just the way I am, flaws and all.
I saw the psychologist again. She was thrilled at how well the letters are working for me and was astounded at how fast they have worked. We spent more time talking about Gary and the kids than we did about my grief this time around. I really like her. It’s like sitting down and visiting with a friend. She’s easy to talk to and gives some great advice without it sounding all doctorish, if you know what I mean. It’s a lot like talking to you, to be honest. I’m so grateful Gary kicked my butt into going to see her. The things she has taught me has changed my life and I will be forever grateful.

Do you have gardens in heaven? I know you don’t need to eat, but I can’t help but wonder. I don’t think heaven would be heaven to you or Grandpa without a garden nearby. I can imagine the two of you working up there side-by-side and catching up, you chatting at him and him nodding his head in response, then working together in silence. He wasn’t much of a talker. I remember that. But I also remember his great big heart and how he used to push me around in the wheelbarrow. He never seemed to mind having his noisy, rowdy grandkids around and I adored him for it. I hope you are finally able to tell him all the things you wished you had in life. I hope you finally have the bond with your Daddy that you longed for. I love you, Mom. That will never change.

Eternally yours,


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20, 2009

Dear Mom,

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you. How I wish you could come behind me and wrap your arms around me like you did so often. I can almost hear and feel your lips on the top of my head, your hand wrapping up under my chin to caress my cheek. You were always so physical in expressing your love. Hugs and kisses. Touches and tickles. Always appropriate. Always appreciated.

Life is getting better. People are beginning to notice my smile and the way I sit. I guess I don’t look so depressed anymore and for that I am extremely grateful. I don’t feel so depressed anymore. Writing has gone from something to keep my head clear to something that purges my heart. I crave it the way an addict craves their drug of choice, but without the side effects and negative garbage. Writing brings me peace like nothing else has. I don’t even want to play my games nearly as often. Sometimes I do anyway because I’ve still got this part of me that tries to avoid writing, which is stupid since I love it, but I don’t crave the game like I did before. I crave words and not just any words. I crave MY words. Well, I guess they’re Father’s words since I pray for his guidance, but what I’m trying to say is that I crave the words that sprout forth under my fingertips. I LIKE the stories that are coming onto the page. I like them better than most books I could read. That’s a cool thing.

I had Young Women’s tonight and the leaders were really good about asking how I was doing. It was like they suddenly weren’t afraid to ask me anymore. They can see the difference and are so relieved. I guess they think about me and worry. It’s nice to know they care, though I do hate making them worry about me. It means a lot that they do though.

I want to go to bed soon because I’m having a hard time getting up in the morning and that makes things difficult for the kids. I need to get up earlier so I have to go to bed earlier, whether I want to or not. Thus, this letter will probably only be one page today as it’s almost 1:30 am, but I feel so much better when I do this at the end of my day. It helps me sleep better and start my day more peacefully. I’m not sure what to tell you about. I miss you so very much, but the memories are beginning to not be quite so painful. I’m finding joy in many of them rather than tears. I like that. I like it a lot. I want to be happy to remember you, not pained and saddened. I know you are happy and I know you would want me to be that way as well.

Anyway, I guess that’s it for tonight. Know that I love you, but I am beginning to be okay. You knew I would be and tried to tell me. This is the first time I’ve actually been able to believe it. It’s happening. It doesn’t mean I forget you, because I can promise that will never happen, it’s because I can finally find peace. I know you’re where you want to be and enjoying getting to know Grandma Rainy and catching up with Grandma and Grandpa and Daddy. I wouldn’t deny you that and I am learning to get along without you. My house could use some of your touch, but I’ll get that down eventually. I have to. If I don’t it will bury me, just like you always said. Stay close, Mom. I miss having you gone. At least if your spirit is near and listening I won’t feel quite so alone.

Eternally yours,


Monday, January 19, 2009

January 19, 2009

Dear Mom,

I’m sorry I’ve not written the past couple of days. I was feeling better and didn’t have the aching need to write that I did last week. Unfortunately that also means the pain has built up again and I find myself desperately reaching out to you in the only way that seems to help. Some days it doesn’t seem real that you’re truly gone. Today is one of those days. I know it seems selfish to ask, but why did you have to go now? Was I doing something wrong that you had to leave at this particular point in my life? If so, I am truly sorry. I’d change it if I could. Death is such a hard thing to bear. It doesn’t scare me, not anymore, but it’s so very hard to be separated from the people we love and you are definitely at the top of that list. I think that’s normal for a girl to love her mother so much. I think it’s normal for any child to love their mother that much and though I know you didn’t want it, I would have much preferred for you to die in your sleep sometime a decade or two down the road. Then again, maybe I would never be ready to lose you. It’s just so hard when it was so sudden and I didn’t really get to tell you good-bye, not so that I knew you heard me. You gave me the chance when you told me to let you go and I didn’t listen. I told you it was up to Heavenly Father instead of telling you right then that if you had to go it would be okay. I just couldn’t say it. I couldn’t hardly even say it when I knew you were going to be leaving.

Oh, it hurts so much. I try to fill my life with good things but the hurt inside of me is all consuming. It eats me alive and the only thing that seems to bring peace is writing and the spirit. Food’s not doing it. Caffeine isn’t doing it. Lack of sleep certainly isn’t doing it. Only writing. With that being the case you’d think I’d be writing more but it’s still a rare thing. I did write this week though. One chapter with the start of a second on a new story, but then you probably already know that. It’s different from what I usually do, but I really like the idea and am excited to do something with it. I’m going to submit it to Brandon’s group this week for critique and try to prepare it for submission in the contest for the storymakers contest again this year. I’m going to actually try to win this time around and polish them before I send them in. Of course I actually need to sign up for the conference first, but I’ll get to it. I’m waiting for the end of the month when Gary gets paid again. It won’t be quite such a financial stretch if I do.

I don’t know what I’d do without these letters to you. They have been a miracle in helping me deal with losing you. It still hurts every day, but I have more decent days and less of those I-don’t-want-to-even-crawl-out-of-bed days. Sometimes I remember you at the oddest of times. Not for me to remember, but remembering you in your daily life. Coming down to sit on your bed and tell you about my day while you lay there in your red silky pajama top with no bottom on. Or standing outside the pantry and silently waiting for you to come out so I could scare you. Just glancing out the backyard I can see you in y our shorts and sunhat bending over in the garden or hobbling around behind the lawnmower. I remember giving you polarity when the board fell over and cracked you on the head and how worried I was that I would lose you then. I remember the sheer joy and excitement in your voice when I spoke to you on the phone while I was in the Phoenix airport when you got your copy of the book with your stories. You couldn’t wait to read them to me so did it right there on the phone and I was so very proud of you. My mom, the published author. Finally able to realize her dream. I’m so glad you had that blessing before you passed away. It was like the achievement of a lifetime and for them to be spiritual stories only made it that much more about you. You know what I miss the most though? This: just sitting and talking to you about nothing important. Or sometimes a casual conversation would turn into something profound. I just loved talking to you. That is why I think the letters work better than anything. It gives me a chance to at least express to you what I’m saying and though I can’t hear your voice sometimes I think I can hear you chuckle or hear a response like you would have said it. Of course I always hope it really is you answering me in the only way that you can, but it’s hard to be sure. I miss hearing your words of wisdom. I may not have always agreed with you or accepted everything you said, but I always thought about it and more often than not I found some real gems in your advice. I am a better person for knowing you and blessed beyond measure having been your daughter. I hope I can make you proud, Mom. I only ever wanted you to be happy I was your daughter—as happy as I was and am having you for a mother.

You know, since you passed I find myself going out for Chinese food more often than not. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m trying to become you or just remember you, but it’s definitely become a favorite. Not that it’s good for me, especially not as often as I go out to eat, but I’m trying to make myself feel better in whatever way will help.

Well, it’s really late and I’ve spent more time dilly-dallying than writing, so I’m going to say farewell for tonight and go fix Gary’s lunch for tomorrow. Feel free to stop by and say hello whenever you want. I’d love to know you are there more often. I wish I could give you a hug, but feeling you in my heart and hearing your voice in my head are about as close as I can get for know.

Know that I love you with all my heart.

Eternally yours,


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

January 13, 2009

Dear Mom,

I’m not quite sure how to describe today. I’ve been tired, obviously, since I had such a late night, but I’ve been kind of low as well. I had thought doing these letters would make everything better, but something is still missing. Hah. Yeah, it is . . . you. I guess things will never be the same again. Not with you gone. I think part of it is that I’m itching to do something even though I’m depressed, whether it be cleaning house or writing, there’s something I need to be doing and I’m not. I guess I’m going to have to figure it out and make some changes. In the meantime though I’ve got to go to bed. It’s one a.m. and I’m yawning my head off. My jaw is cracking I’m yawning so big. I don’t have anything to say anyway, I’m just dying to write something, anything, and this seems to be the only thing I can write right now.

I’m hoping to write some new first chapters soon so I am prepared for the contest this year. I want to actually make my best effort to win this year. I don’t want to win on a rough draft again. I want to know I did my very best whether I win or not, but I want to genuinely try. That is my goal. I need some stories to submit though and I’ve got to decide which ones I want to do. Newtimber for sure. Maybe a rewrite of teenage wizard with the dad disappearing. I’ll give that one just one more shot before I let it go for contests. Beyond that I’ll have to write something new. Maybe my werewolf detective story or another man’s shoes would work. The medieval flute player one might be good as well. Or maybe a new idea altogether would work. I’d love to write a first chapter using Gary’s idea, but that’s his story to write, not mine. I will NOT steal it from him. It might be fun to use the funny one I started on my alphasmart. It was Sci-Fi and was meant to be bad writing but ended up being moderately funny.

Anyway, I’m totally rambling now. You don’t need to know all of that, though it sure would have been fun to sit down with you and hammer out ideas. I’m helping Gary hammer out ideas for his story but who knows if he’ll ever write it. I do hope he’ll give me permission to do it if he won’t. I guess I’ll go to bed. This is stuff I should be writing about in my morning pages, not bothering you with, but I miss you. I miss talking to you about my ideas and knowing you heard and accepted and loved me for who I am.

I kept thinking about you last night, trying to remember you in my younger life. I remember your voice a lot in California, but only have one vivid memory of you there. You were making an art project, which I rarely saw you do, and it involved paper, sticks, some kind of spray, and fire. It was really cool and I remember seeing it in later years. I just wish I could remember more from my younger years. I’ve rehearsed so many of my daddy memories from that time I’ve not really included memories of you and now I fear it may be too late. I hope not. I want to access as many memories of you as I can and cling to them. They are more precious than gold. My most vivid memories with you were our trips. I loved sitting up front with you by myself and listening to your stories. You always told stories about your life or about Daddy or even about me and your spiritual experiences. I always felt so privileged to be your confidante, even when I was young. There are so many things I would have done different if I’d known my time with you was to be as short as it was.

I miss you so much. I know I say that in every letter but it never changes and has to be expressed. It’s not as much a desperate pain as it has been, but it still hurts. The memories are easier to keep now. Not so painful as they were before, but I wish there were time to make more memories. I wish I’d helped you more and resented you less when you tried to boss me around and tell me how to live my life. You meant the best and I knew it even then. I just wish I’d listened. You’ve always been wise, Mom. I think you were born that way, and I have always been an impulsive, stubborn child. I’m sorry for the hurt I caused you. I’m sorry to have hurt you. I never wanted to and I learned over time how to change. I only wish it hadn’t taken so long. I wish I’d done more.

I said I was going to bed and yet here I stay. I can’t help myself. This makes me feel better than anything else I try. It allows me to express the pain in my heart and soul and communicate with you still. It lets my thoughts be revealed on paper and I only hope you are allowed to see them. I know you can’t write or call back, but at least I can know you hear me and maybe you can reach me some other way. Thank you for helping to arrange my teaching at the junior high with Shanna. I know you had something to do with that. I also feel like you had something to do with Stacy getting accepted with her publisher and looking at my manuscript. I only hope she sees some potential there and is willing to work with it. If that is what Heavenly Father wants, I hope you and his other angels will open doors and make it happen. I know it can if the time is right. I hope it will be soon.

I guess I’ll go to bed now. I really do need to get some sleep. Morning comes early when you’ve got two kids to get off to school. If I go to bed now I can get six hours of sleep in before time to get up. That’s not enough, but it’s better than some nights. Hopefully I can get some writing in somewhere during the day as well, though I do need to clean house too. I wish I could hire someone to come and help me. I’m actually about to call Gary’s Mom and say “Help!” She offered and I definitely need it. Maybe I’ll see if they can come out Saturday or something. It would sure be nice to get the stuff in the family room gone through once and for all. I’d like to get it out of the way.

I love you. I hope you know that. I know you loved me too, but I still miss hearing it and feeling your arms around me. I never realized how important touch was to me until I lost you. It brings tremendous comfort. Now I have to feel your touch from the inside out rather than the outside in. But then you always did teach me that that’s the way the spirit works. Now you get to help.

Eternally yours,


Monday, January 12, 2009

January 12, 2009

Dear Mom,

I can’t sleep tonight. It’s a quarter to four in the morning and I can’t stop thinking about you. I was remembering you leaning on the grocery cart as you’d poke your head around the corner at the bakery, your cane resting diagonally in the basket. You always broke out in a smile when you’d see me, as if just seeing my face made you happy. I miss that so much.

The tears are back tonight. I’ve been doing really well since starting these letters but tonight all of a sudden I’m hurting again, aching so bad it feels like I’m going to turn inside out. I want to sit down and talk with you or at the very least give you a call. You’re not supposed to be dead! You were supposed to live another decade or more and I just can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that you are truly and completely gone. I haven’t felt you near much lately. I want to, but when I do think I feel you I keep questioning if it’s just me wanting it so bad that I imagine you there, or if your spirit really is coming to check on me.

Anyway, I can’t sleep but I’m exhausted. I’ve got Young Women’s tonight and don’t want to do anything. I hate being depressed like this. I found a couple of online groups that help with depression and hope to find some answers and peace through this. Anyway, I’m going to try to sleep now. I’m getting tired even though I’m still sad. Hopefully I’ll be able to sleep. I don’t know what else to say except that I love you and miss you so much. I wish you could come home to me.

Love for eternity,


Sunday, January 11, 2009

January 11, 2009

Dear Mom,

I probably won’t write for long tonight. It’s 12:30 and I’m tired, but I have felt so much better writing to you over the past couple of nights and it’s something I’d really like to continue to do daily for a while. Today was the most peace I’ve felt in quite a while. It was very refreshing and comforting and oh so needed. I’m not sure if you had something to do with that or if it was the letters or the holy ghost, but I’m gratefully no matter where it came from.

We didn’t go to church today. We probably could have, but I wasn’t up to it and Birdy had thirty pages of homework to finish before the night was up. I’m really hoping he learned a lesson this time around and will start turning in his homework and doing schoolwork. He had to do over sixty pages of makeup work in only five days. It was ridiculous. At least it’s done now. He turns it in tomorrow and the end of the week means the end of the quarter so he’ll have a new start soon.

I still haven’t sold your truck. I know I should. You’re certainly not using it and I don’t use it very often, but having it sitting in the driveway has given me the illusion that you’re just next door or just came home. I haven’t been able to get rid of it. I didn’t want to. It was like the last little piece of you remaining and when it was gone you would really be gone too. I couldn’t stand the thought, but it’s easing a bit now. I think by spring I’ll actually be able to let it go. I don’t want to, but we really don’t need three vehicles for two drivers and we need the van more than the truck. Besides, I need to pay my bills and I can’t do it without selling your truck, not once Mr. A leaves.

Oh, yeah, did I tell you? We have a renter. It’s crazy how it all came about and I’m sure you had something to do with it on that side, but he’s a great guy. A school teacher. Single. Sixtyish. Really nice and we hardly ever see him. It was hard having to get all of your stuff out of your space so quickly but he has been a real blessing to us. I’m grateful that he’s here, even if it does mean the kids are still squished in the bedroom together. We’ll get them separated eventually.

Stacy W. is coming out here to do a presentation to my Jr. High writing club this week. She’s the editor who has my book and I genuinely hope she’ll be taking it to her publisher. It would be so awesome to finally get published and get my career moving forward. I think I’m finally ready to write again. I’ve been feeling the bug nibble at me for a bit now, but today it’s almost overwhelming. Gary and I had a brainstorming session on the book he wants to write and though I’d never steal his idea, I’d sure love to write that book. It’s an awesome idea. It could be such an awesome book. I told him if he decides not to write it to pass it on. I’ll do it. Of course I still need to write your book, but I’m going to need some help on it. If you don’t mind, I may end up asking Haley to help me. She wrote her autobiographical account of her experience with Anorexia Nervosa. I wish you’d had the chance to read that book. It was fantastic and you would have loved meeting her, especially knowing we’re family. She’s a survivor, just like you, and I just know you two would have loved each other.

Tristi’s daughter wrote me an e-mail asking questions about massage therapy tonight. It was fun answering and telling her a little about massage. It was also interesting to realize how much I love it while I was talking about it. Sometimes I forget and it was good to be reminded.

I still miss you, but it’s not quite so painful to remember today. I’m grateful for that. I’d like to reach a point where remembering brings joy rather than pain. I’m heading in that direction, I think, but I can only take it a day at a time and see where I’m going that day. Hopefully tomorrow will be another glorious one and I can have some energy to get a few more things done. Maybe even some writing. I’ve got some first chapters to write to submit to the contest this year and it would be nice to take them to my critique group before I submit them to the contest. I’d love to get their feedback and make them something more than just a first draft this time around. I’d love to submit knowing I had truly done my best for a change. I don’t know if I can win, but at least I know I’ve got a good shot at it. Past experience has proven that.
I think I’ll go to bed now. I’m really tired. Too many late nights with not enough sleep. The boys thought they had their late start Monday tomorrow, but it turns out they don’t have one in January. Birdy will be disappointed, I’m sure, but I’m glad I didn’t let him save any of his homework to do tomorrow as now there will be no time.

There’s so much still to tell you and yet I can’t seem to find the words. Tristi reminded me in an e-mail that you and I knew how much we loved each other and what a blessing that was for us. She said she admired our relationship and was trying to create such a one with her mother. Isn’t it nice to know that something as profound as our love could inspire someone else to want that as well? You are just that kind of person, Mom. People can’t help but love you and I am certainly one of them. You shared the best and deepest part of yourself with me and for that I will be forever grateful. You showed me what a righteous woman could be and you are my hero for all eternity. I wish you knew how much I really love you. Perhaps my love is no stronger than your own. I couldn’t have had a better mother. You were everything I needed and taught me everything I really needed to know.

I love you. Spread the love around to the family up there for me. I know I say that every time, but I want them to know that they are not forgotten either. They are loved and treasured and an inspiration to me. I only wish I could have passed their genes on to another generation. I can’t change the path that has been given me. I can’t pass on the genes, but I can pass on the love and knowledge that has been taught me. I can give my sons something they wouldn’t have had before they were mine. They know who they are, and that is worth more than all the money in the world.

Love for all eternity,


Saturday, January 10, 2009

January 10, 2009

Dear Mom,

Today has been really hard for me. I think I’ve finally come to realize that you’re not coming back. You’re not just off on some trip for months at a time, but I’ll really never see you again, not in this life, not in your body. It has completely turned my world up-side-down. I thought you’d always be there, that we’d be the little old ladies, one ancient, one moderately old, living together long after their husband’s have passed on. I never imagined I’d lose you this year, or next year, or even five years from now. I thought you’d live forever and the thought of going on without you is . . . impossible. How can you be gone? You were a giant: impregnable and neverending. It seems impossible to have you suddenly disappear from my life, as if your passing happened to another person.

I’m not dealing with it very well. I really don’t know how. You would think having grown up without a father would have made it easier to lose my mother, but I think it’s made it more difficult still. I have no one else to turn to, no parent figure who is wise and all knowing to give me advice. There was only you and now I’m alone. It’s inconceivable. I still expect you to pop your head in the door of my den with some funny e-mail you received from a friend, or to hear the phone ring and your voice to be on the other end. This enduring silence hurts more that nearly anything.

The boys miss you. Birdie frequently tells me how much he misses you, but Teeny feels the loss even more, I think. Every time we speak of you he hangs his head and when he looks at me I see tears in his eyes. You were like a second mother to him and it’s another loss in his short life. I only hope it won’t be one too many. Keep an eye on him, would you? He needs you even more than I do, I think.

Birdy’s sick tonight. He got some kind of stomach gumbo and was throwing up. the Bishop came over and helped Gary give him a blessing. He fell asleep shortly thereafter and I’m hoping he’ll feel better by morning, though I already called my people and let them know I wouldn’t be to church tomorrow. I just can’t go and face another week of judgment from K. It makes it hard to be around her, knowing she thinks so little of me. She doesn’t seem to have the compassion or understanding I need right now, though she does know how to kick my butt into doing something more. I wish it hadn’t taken her, and I especially wish I didn’t resent it so much, but at least the girls are getting some of what they need now. I wasn’t doing anything for them. I love them, but sometimes that’s just not enough. They need structure, organization, and activities as well. I guess I can only do what I can do, but I hope I can find some answers and do it better in the future.

Gary’s pushing me to get some medicine for my depression. He thinks I’ve been depressed in general throughout my life and haven’t gotten help for it. He may be right, but it’s something I hate to admit and I hate taking pills. I’m just desperate enough to consider it though. Just desperate enough to try even though I’m afraid it will interfere with the creative process. I guess with the Lord all things are possible and maybe I can do two things. One, pray and ask for his help when I am writing, then sit down and write, and two, pray to know if I should take medicine or not. All I know is that I need help and I’ll do whatever I have to to feel better. Living like this stinks.

I really am beginning to think these letters were a good idea. I couldn’t hardly wait to get home and write them tonight. I spent a lot of time talking to Gary and he helped me see a few things and feel some good things, but when he went to bed I came out here to write to you. No World of Warcraft or matching games. Just some time alone with an empty page and my mother. Even though I was overwhelmingly depressed today, I think part of it was because of opening myself up to you on the page last night. I took the lid off the pot and couldn’t put it back on. I don’t think I should, really. I think the lid needs to stay off and I need to deal with your death. I’m not sure how, but I get the feeling that the answers will come as I write my way through them. At least I’m headed in the right direction.

You know, the biggest regret I have about the timing of your death is that you won’t be there when I finally see success in my writing. I know you believed in me so much that you didn’t need to see it happen to know that it would, but I would have loved to share that moment of success with you knowing that we were both achieving a lifelong dream of publication. I know it shouldn’t matter, but it does. You have always been my biggest cheerleader and the time you spent with me letting me read entire books to you is time I will forever treasure, especially the last reading of The Sapphire Flute. Sharing those tears as we read though the revised ending was a precious, precious moment. I’ll miss being able to do it with book number two and three and twenty-seven. I only hope that you can help inspire me from the other side and put a fire under my bum to get them written. I guess you’ll get to see them from the in-side-out now, won’t you. I hope you can be proud of me. I want to know I’ve done well by you and Daddy.

I wish I could talk to you face to face. I feel you near every now and then, though not as much lately. I know you’ve got other family who probably need you more and I’m selfish to want you with me all of the time, but you were my whole world for so long I miss having you near. Death is a rather abrupt way to get me to finally grow up, don’t you think?

Well, I’m not sure what more to tell you about. You already know everything that’s going on, but it helps me to send the word out to you in whatever form I can. It’s too bad it has taken my losing you to finally understand how important it is to care about family. They come first. I get that now. Thank you for teaching me in whatever forms you did. The message stuck, I just didn’t get it until now. Give Daddy and Grandma and Grandpa a hug and kiss for me. Let them know I love and miss them too and let them know what’s going on with me if they don’t know already. How grateful I am to know that families are forever. Thank you for accepting the gospel when it came your way, Mom. It is one of the two greatest blessings in my life.

Love for all eternity,


Friday, January 9, 2009

January 9, 2009

Dear Mom,

The psychologist said writing you letters would help me continue to keep our relationship alive and since I believe so strongly in an afterlife and know that you truly are not far away, it is the only way I have left to communicate with you and has always been the way I communicate best, so here I am. I’m writing letters to a dead woman who is still very much alive in my heart and mind.

I miss you so much. Some days it feels like someone has scooped all my insides out and I’m nothing but a shell of the person I used to be. I don’t know how to cope. I don’t know how to live. I don’t know how to be me without you. You’ve always been my biggest supporter and greatest friend. You’re the person who always told me I could do anything and truly believed it and by so believing made me believe it. I feel so lost without you. I’m afraid I’ve not made the best use of my time these last few months. I keep trying to escape the pain instead of dealing with it and I know that you would have said that’s okay for a while, but that I needed to face it eventually. That time is coming and fast. I know I need to be writing again and I know I need to take care of my family and home needs. I’ve just been so depressed since losing you that just thinking of doing dishes or leaving the house, or even getting dressed is almost more than I can bear.

I don’t know who I am without you! Jenny said you didn’t raise me to be your shadow, and part of me knows that’s true, but there’s another part of me that feels as if I was exactly that. You always had such a big personality I felt small in comparison and yet priveleged to be near you, to be a part of you. Now that the light shines directly on me I’m not sure what to do. I’m frozen in the spotlight and try to hide instead. The problem is, I was the shadow and now there is no shade to hide in. I’m stuck in the sun and melting from the heat.

I wish I could sit down with you at your kitchen table like we used to do. I wish I could hold your hand and talk and cry for a while. You were always so good at taking care of me, of making me see through the pain to the heart of things and I just can’t seem to do it on my own. I find myself reaching out more to others, which is a good thing, but they don’t know me like you did. They don’t know how to read me and they don’t know just that right thing to say to get me to see through the fog. I am alive, but I’m certainly not living and the ache inside of me is so deep it seems endless. I don’t even want to take care of myself anymore. I keep thinking I’m eating myself to death, almost hope it sometimes so that I can be with you again, but I know it’s not my time. I have a purpose still in this life. I just can’t seem to get enough of a handle on my emotions to move forward with it once again. I’m really hoping that these letters will help me move past the worst of the hurt so that I can at least think and feel again.

Inside of me there is a little kid crying out for her mama. That’s the part that hurts the most. Life is too short. I understand that saying so much more fully now. My time with you was much too short, though it certainly was treasured. You taught me what it meant to be a true mother. You taught me the meaning of service and selflessness. You taught me how to teach and helped me gain a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. I may not have the same passion for it that you did, but I believe. I believe with all my heart that it’s true.

Why can’t you have stayed, just for a little while longer? Were you needed so desperately on that side? Were you holding me back from progressing? Is it my fault you’re gone? I certainly hope that isn’t true. I begged and pleaded with the Lord to let you live. I wanted you to stay so much and the pain of losing you seems almost more than I can bear. I don’t know where to turn for peace and solace. Or the one person I know I should turn to I’m kind of mad at because he took you home before I was ready. Maybe I would never have been ready, but right now I don’t understand the timing and I just want you back. Back home with me. Here. Now. I feel like you took part of me home with you and I don’t know how to function anymore. I know I keep saying that but it’s been the hardest thing for me. I’m so depressed I can’t seem to do anything. I almost wish they would put me on medication just to numb some of the pain. I feel somedays as if I’m going to turn inside out for all the hurt. I hate it. I hate hurting like this. I hate being unhappy and miserable and I hate not being able to do my jobs because of this depression. My calling and my family are suffering and I don’t know what to do.

You’ve certainly brought some wonderful people into my life since your passing and helped me realize the blessing of the true friends I’ve already got. Haley has been an inspiration. Tristi and Julie have shown that they are true friends, not just encouraging authors. Shanna has stepped up and shown herself as a real friend as well. And then there’s Shari, who I knew would always be there for me, but she has gone well beyond what I’d ever expected. Gary too has stepped up and is becoming the man I’ve seen inside for so long. We still have a ways to go to fix our relationship completely, but we are certainly on the path that leads to the kind of relationship I think we both want. There is a kindness, patience, and gentleness in him once more that I’ve so terribly missed and I find myself reaching out to him more. I guess I depended on you a lot more than I’d realized. Iwish I’d done something about it before, but I’ll take what I can get now. He is a good man. I’m glad you always thought so, despite your frustrations with him.

Well, Mom, I’m not sure what else to say at this point. I’m glad you’re happy being with Daddy and Grandma and Grandpa and Grandma Rainy, but I miss you. I saw you, you know. I had a vision of you when you took your last breath and rose up from your body and straight into Daddy’s arms. I saw the look of pure joy on your face and it is the one thing that has brought me the greatest peace. But still I miss you. I miss your smile. I miss your holding my hand and stroking it with your thumb. But most of all, I miss your hugs. They were the safest, most wonderful place I could ever be and I miss the security and safety of your arms. Give Daddy a great big hug from me. Share each other and know I’d give anything to be with you both.

I hope you’ll let me know when you’re near and will stop in every now and then. Even though it’s hard when you leave again, knowing you’re close by gives me a lot of comfort for a time. I hope I’m not a disappointment to you now that you see the real me from the other side. I only ever wanted to make you happy, but I am so very imperfect.

Know that I love you.

Yours for eternity,