The sky is so blue today, you would’ve loved it. I still can’t believe you’re not here. I wonder if you know how often I drive up to see you. Well, the place we left you. It still feels surreal to talk to a stone carved in the shape of a cross with your name at the bottom. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.
There are so many things I want to tell you. Where do I begin?
Three years is a long time to be without you, Momma.
All the kids are in college now, I can’t believe how quickly those years flew by. I am so thankful we moved here so long ago so they could share life with you. The memories you made together will be more valuable than silver or gold as they grow older. Like the times you took them to McDonald’s for french fries and a coke or the countless sports activities you attended in sweltering heat and unforgiving cold. I still see you sitting faithfully in the stands cheering and enjoying family. None of the kids were ever superstars at anything, but you never minded, they were super to you.
I’ve been reminiscing about you a lot lately, thinking about your smile, your laugh, your red hair and your love of Gator football. Your Gators really aren’t doing well these days, but I know you’d still be wearing your orange and blue if you were here. You never could stand a fair weather fan. I don’t have the heart to wear your Gator earrings, maybe someday…
I was in the meat department recently at the Pig and they had hamburger on sale. Memories came pouring into my mind of all the times you’d bring me a tray telling me excitedly where it was on sale and how much it was per pound. I had to smile. I’m not sure where you picked up your obsession with putting meat in the freezer, although I think it may have come from being raised by a depression baby. I think you’d be a little disappointed if you saw how little meat is in my freezer these days. In my defense, you’re not here to alert me about all the sales.
I really miss those calls about the least of things and everyday life.
It seems there are so few people with whom to share the ins and outs of everyday living these days. No one cares about random stuff and useless information like you did. No one wants to talk me through a long boring drive, or help me calm down during a storm, or hear about what color to paint the living room, or about how much I miss days gone by.
No one cares about stuff like that except your momma.
I bought some pumpkins for my porch a few days ago since it’s getting close to Thanksgiving. None of the kids are interested in carving jack o lanterns this year, it feels kind of sad. I keep thinking about how you and I would walk through Lowe’s together and enjoy the harvest decorations. This time of year was your favorite. You especially loved to talk about the house you and daddy bought in the country. You could see the finished product in your mind’s eye and I always needed to see on paper. I wish you could tell me your visions again, I’ve forgotten what you wanted to do with the place and it makes me so sad.
I wish you could see the yard behind the house. It is full and green, the view has become what you imagined it would be someday, full of life and filled with peace. I was there last week and I could imagine you standing at the window sipping a cup of steaming coffee looking out the kitchen window over that field of green. I have to admit, it’s still really hard for me to visit the country house; I get so choked up remembering how you doted on every room, promising to make it beautiful. Oh, and your crossword puzzles are still on the table where you left them, they’re getting a little yellowed and I’m pretty sure we’re going to have to move them soon. I couldn’t bring myself to do it, but I know it has to happen.
Life is changing, moving forward, and it’s time to let some things go.
It’s the time of year when beautiful colors and fresh winds fill the days. The fall season is rolling in and with it comes the harvest. Watching the tractors plow through the cotton fields and munching on boiled peanuts was all so much more fun when you were here. I passed a field of huge sunflowers the other day and I smiled at the thought of how much you loved them. The simplest flower for a simple soul, they fit you perfectly. It seems like everywhere I look there are reminders of you. A harvest moon, a windy creek, a cloudless sky all bring back times we shared together.
Now as I walk through your old house and wipe away the dust that reminds me there is no life in this place, sorrow begs to take over as winter comes to take fall.
I wish I could thank you for all the sacrifices you made for us. I don’t think I really understood then like I do now. I wish I could ask your advice about a few things, like how you survived the transition between a house full of kids and the silence of an empty nest. Or what you would do when someone you love hurts you deeply? I wonder why I didn’t seek your wisdom sooner about the challenges that go along with relationships. I said something I wish I hadn’t the other day and I wanted to tell you about it so bad. I picked up my phone and wished with all my heart I could dial your number and you would answer, but instead I turned to my heavenly Father and asked for wisdom. I know you would’ve wanted me to do that anyway, but it would have been so good to hear your voice reassuring me everything was going to be okay.
I had the chance to be the calming voice to one of the kids the other day and I thought how things had come full circle. Suddenly I find myself in the position you were once in: the voice of “momma.” I sure hope I handle myself like you did, I hope I am half the woman you were. I hope my children miss me as much as I miss you when I’m gone.
I always feel especially full inside when someone tells me I have qualities like you. That’s the greatest compliment of all. I want you to know I’m smiling more and more these days. For a while I didn’t feel like it, but I remember how often you told me to give my smile as a gift, so I offer it to others, just like you said. I try to be kind and loyal, and I have that little bit of fire in my soul just like you had. I think you were better at managing it than I am though. Seems like I have to say I’m sorry a lot!
So many have told me time will help with the wound of loss, I guess I agree. Now when I look over a field of green I see your smile in my mind’s eye and I don’t burst into tears like I used to. I still can’t go a single day without thinking about you. I’m not sure I ever want to do that. Thoughts of you and conversations with you bring me needed comfort. Although, I’m not sure you can hear me when I have these talks with you; I read a book recently that says you can’t. I think I like the idea of you listening in on my life and cheering me on in hardship, it makes you feel closer and holds my heart together a little better.
I sure wish you were going to be here for the holidays, it doesn’t feel the same without you. I’m doing my best to keep up the traditions and good cheer, but there’s always a part of me longing and looking for you.
Three years is a long time to be without your momma.
Remember when we used to talk about meeting each other at the heavenly gate one day? I always thought that day was far off, but here I am writing this…it came a lot quicker than I expected.
I’m praying for more years here, momma, to see my children have children and to grow old with my precious husband. But, when I do cross over, would you be there waiting for me? You know, by the gate.
I will be looking hard for you because eternity is too long to spend without your momma.