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pen and lettersDear Mom,

There is so much I would say to you if we could just have lunch at Burger King one more time.

I’d say I’m sorry about how I judged you for being a bitter person. Before you died I didn’t know about your horrible first marriage with Dale, and about your miscarriage while being all alone on the farm while he was off playing basketball or whatever it was with the boys — which, it seems, he always was.

I also didn’t know about the affairs dad had and how they must have chipped away at your self-esteem and the relationship between you. It must have broken your heart to sit at Welcome Inn as he played in the band and watch him flirt with the ladies while he ignored you in the corner in your booth.

And I’d ask your forgiveness for my being so angry at you at the hospital when dad was dying and you said you didn’t want any more life-saving measures. I assumed it was because, as the saying goes, payback can be a bitch! But I was so wrong. What you know you really love someone...I came to understand later was that only a person who loves someone so deeply — and this in spite of the repeated humiliations you went through — can love them enough to let them go. The rest of us selfishly wanted to keep him here. That’s the hardest lesson I ever learned from you.

I don’t believe your life turned out at all the way you thought it would. And yet you stuck it all out for nearly 50 years of marriage for the sake of your three kids. It’s no wonder bitterness took root in your heart. And yet, at the very end of your life you spent the night you died looking at dad’s Book of Remembrance we’d made. And then, not wanting to sell the house you’d lived in together for so long, which you were to do the next day, you left his book on the couch, climbed the stairs to your bedroom, laid down and died. I think that quiet, noble death must have been the biggest blessing of your life.

There is so much about you and your growing up years that we will never know, but from somewhere, despite the dysfunctionality of how you did it, I believe you taught me what it means to love. I am stricken that I never got a chance to tell you that.

I hope with my whole heart there is a chance to tell you someday, or at least that you’re reading this over my shoulder and you finally know. I never thought in a million years if I could pick someone to spend one more day with it would be you, and yet it is. And I know a day would not be nearly long enough. We’d have a whole lifetime of misunderstandings to sort out.

I love you, mom…

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Write a letter to your mom. Tell her something you’ve always wanted to say, but haven’t been able to.