I miss you so much and so often. You were the best mom I could ever want and if I could have hand picked a mom, it would be you! You were always supportive to me and very giving. I admired your tact and your wisdom. You were so smart yet you never made me feel dumb or stupid. I'll always be grateful to you for advising me to combined the secretarial skill classes with the college bound courses. They served me well.
I had so much admiration for you when you welcomed three foster children into our family and gave them a loving home and took on all that extra responsibility. I thought it was wonderful how you helped Pam with her accounting and John with his math so he didn't need to attend summer school. You put up with so much extra heartache by doing this that you could have easily avoided, but you wanted to make a difference for them, and you did! I never had any children, but like you, I am still teaching Sunday School. I loved being your helper growing up and learned a lot from you about teaching and motivating kids to learn. I did think about being a foster parent or adopting but I married so late, it just would not have been practical and Gerard never expressed any interest in doing it.
I loved our late night talks when I would lean against your soft arms on the couch. You being overweight never bothered me or embarrassed me. You were heavy, but never looked sloppy. I loved how you would stick out your false teeth just to be silly sometimes! You had a wonderful sense of humor and I loved how we shared inside jokes and would crack up at the same things.
I especially miss playing games with you like we used to. You taught me so much and we had so many good times as a family because of you. Thanks for the bowling and piano lessons and for teaching me how to do a box score for baseball and keep stats.
I remember when you explained menstruation to us and how mad I was that I was a girl and had to put up with that yet! I really didn't blame you for it but thought maybe if I wore tight t-shirts, it would prevent those boobs from growing. I was such a tomboy and even prayed that God would change me into a boy. Finally, it was you who made me realize that God created me to be a girl for a reason and I finally accepted that it wasn't going to change. I just thought boys had it made because they had better toys, better clothes, and didn't have to wait around for a girl to ask them out but they could just ask whoever they wanted. (Back in the 60s, it was still proper for boys to do the asking.)
I loved that you were sort of a rebel too. I remember that we were the first girls at church to wear slacks to the church picnic. I loved how you would get dad to chill out and let us do things like having all-nighters with our friends over. I remember how you took my side against my mean 4th grade teacher and explained to her it wasn't our fault that our move was delayed so we didn't get in her class until well into the year.
I remember being so proud of you for being active and going out with your friends, being in the bowling league, being the President of your weight loss club, "Losing Pounds Sensibly," and losing so much weight that you won a regional award! I was honored that you asked me to attend the award banquet with you and meet your club members.
I wish you could have lived longer to see our nice cats. I know you weren't a cat person, but our cats do not sneak up or climb on people so I think you would have liked them. I really wish that I had gotten you a computer when you were still feeling well because I think you would have enjoyed it so much.
Our soap opera, "The Guiding Light," was finally canceled this year. I used to like our TV time and missed watching it with you and was so glad you invited me to join you for meals even after I lived on my own. I remember how you used to make me a nice hamburger before I'd go bowling or to play softball.
I am so glad I have the afghans and the animal tree crewel picture and the big crewel tiger picture you made for me. The animal tree one is in our bedroom and the big tiger is in our living room above the TV. Oh, and remember the fun we had working on that huge swan puzzle between Christmas and New Year's one year? I have that hanging in my dining room. I also have that picture frame you painted and that paint-by-number you did of the boy with his dog walking in the woods. Still trying to find a place for that one though.
Gerard has been a good husband to me for 12 years now. I am so glad you were able to make it to our wedding and feel bad that you didn't have a better time at the reception. I got some bad news in August. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer but they caught it early so could just cut it out and I don't even need to have chemo! Just 33 radiation treatments and a pill for five years. Not too big a deal. Work is really nice about giving me the time off with pay to heal. I start back half days only on Monday.
I loved that you were so feisty in the hospital during your last days and you hung in there tough. I remember how you told dad to take you home but you were too weak to even stand up. I hated that you were so weak and sickly and that I couldn't help you--no one could. We just ha to wait around for your heart to give out. I am so sorry that I wasn't by your side when you took your last breath but I wanted to be. Things changed so fast that we just didn't make it in time. I called to check on your condition at 4 a.m. and was told it was the same but just two hours later, I got the call that we should come right away. Dad was already signing papers when we got there and I knew we were too late. I wish he at least could have gotten there in time but he was too slow too. This is one of two regrets, the other one being dad dying alone without me there.
I love it though when I picture what your life must be like now in heaven, no pain, singing, running again and happy. I look forward to the day when I'll see you again!
If you liked this post, I am sure you would like the book I wrote about my dad and our loving family: Click here for more about "My Funny Dad, Harry."
This post is part of the Writer's Workshop. The assignment actually was to write a poem about mom, but since I stink at poetry, I wrote a letter instead. Go here for more.
The Day Dad Died God Gave Me Special Cat Time
Mom's Six Tips To Winning Scrabble
Things My Mother Taught Me and What I Miss
(originally posted 10-15-09 re-posted 5/8/11)
Letters from Dad: #24
2 days ago