December 01, 2016

A Letter to Mother

Recently my cousin brought me this letter. I haven't stopped thinking about it. My grandmother, Elayne, wrote it to her mother. I can't begin to describe my feelings. Just seeing my grandma's handwriting had me excited and teary eyed at the same time. But, her words. My grandma had just returned home after traveling to Utah to bury her son. The pain of that event alone would have destroyed me. Her words describe an unconditional love and journey that to most would have been debilitating.  She writes, "....that brought me face to face with the reality of my personal loss and I had some time when I had to let it wash over me. I grieved. I went back to his potential. I lived the time when we couldn't understand what was happening to him. I went through the frustration, the worry, the anger, the anguish, the times when we tried all kinds of medical and Psychiatric procedures to no avail, the agony, the embarrassment we felt as we watched him be less and less each year, the agony of knowing that he knew he could not perform and could not understand why, the long questioning hours when we berated ourselves because we could not help him and cried at the inability." Her honesty. Her son had suffered an accident when he was young which had caused brain tumors that led to deficits in his abilities when he was older.  It was a long time before they understood why he was deteriorating mentally. I can't imagine watching a grown child go through that kind of pain.  I remember visiting him in the hospital when I was young. Now that I have children of my own, her words give me strength. She was strong. She found solace in writing her feelings and she loved her son. She talks about unconditional love and says, ' I am grateful that we had time to explore with him all of that kind of love, and to accept each other with all the "expectations" removed from our relationship."  I think of raising kids and how I always just thought Grandma knew what she was doing. As a child, it seemed like very little phased her.  I see now that she would be able to relate to my feelings not only as a mom, but as a person. She reminds me that grieving is okay. Natural even. No matter the loss. We would have been friends.

Grandma had the utmost love and respect for her Mother. She always called her "Mother." The friendship they shared..... A poem, at a time when I fear I would be angry and speechless, Grandma writes of a peace brought by family. I will never say I am grateful for cancer. But, it has changed so many things in my life. Some for better, others for worse. BUT,  it has opened family doors that I didn't even realize were shut. I would be lying if I said that didn't make me happy. I hope to be a better mother and her words inspire me. She says, "I may never grow up. I go on needing you to mother me in so many times and places, and in so many ways." The letter is closed with, "Dearest Mother- if you get the rewards you deserve you'll be the brightest angel in all the heavens. All our love, Elayne" This letter has made me rethink so many things in life. Goals......

I will treasure this letter for the rest of my days!

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