Letters to Mama

Today you would have been 53

To my mama,

Today you would have been 53. It’s been almost ten months since we lost you and I miss you terribly. I hope you’re having a great first birthday in Heaven. I know you are healthy and happy in your eternal home.

I want you to know that you are missed and loved by all your family that is still here on Earth with me.

I want you to know that we still talk about you often. We know that you would be proud of us. We know that you would laugh or cry with us through all the life events that have occurred during the last ten months. We know that you were genuinely trying to live healthier before your passing. And we are all trying to live healthier after your passing knowing that we only get one life to live and in order to live a longer life, we must take care of ourselves. 


I’m so glad that your were at mine and Ryan’s wedding last August. It means the world to me that you were there with me as we were getting ready, that you were able to be pampered by my sweet friend Ashleigh that day with hair and makeup, and that you were able to watch me walk down the aisle in my big, beautiful princess gown that we both dreamed about for years. 

You called me the night you had your stroke to confirm my new address. I was pulling into the parking lot where I was about to do a Mary Kay party. I didn’t answer. I hate that I didn’t answer. I wish I had answered so I could have just told you one more time that I love you. I know you understood though. I would have never known that would have been the last time I would get to have a conversation with you. 

The five days your were in the hospital after we made the decision to remove life sustaining measures were incredibly sad yet memorable. I’m so thankful to have spent those five days with you. I will never know if you knew we were there but I will always remember the night I laid in the hospital bed with you surrounded by all the people who loved you most. Kristin and Heather slept in the hospital recliner chair together. And Debbie and Dad both sat in standard waiting room chairs sleeping hunched over the side of the bed. The five of us barely left your side that week. We wanted to be with you and make sure you knew you were loved immensely before you left for Heaven. 

I gave your eulogy at you memorial service. I felt it was perhaps the most important speech I would make in my entire life. I centered myself. I stood up as straight as if my spine was made of steel. And I spoke of the lessons you taught me in my 28 years. You taught my sisters and I many things throughout our lives but I spoke of the main things we learned and how we would be implementing those lessons going forward. 

Since that day, I have struggled to find my footing. I have made big, life changes to pursue a healthier, more peaceful life. Dad, Kristin, Heather and I have made a point to spend more time together as a family. We know that no one is promised tomorrow. We are all making heart healthy life decisions in order to prolong our years on this Earth as long as God allows. 

I’ve been working on my personal health by getting my hypothyroidism under control, getting my weight back to the pre-wedding, pre-depression weight, and  progressing through my depression and anxiety. 

Your passing is the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. I don’t wish this heartache on anyone, ever. However, your passing has opened my eyes and taught me valuable lessons I won’t soon forget. 

Being healthy is my number one priority. It is the sum of numerous daily decisions to exercise, eat healthy, and pursue mental balance and peace. Being spiritually healthy and seeking a stronger relationship with God is included in this priority. It’s incredibly hard to muster the internal strength and discipline to live such a life when your world feels so grey. 

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Mental illness will take a person out just as quickly as physical illness. Recognizing a problem and taking the appropriate action steps towards a solution will make a difference in my day to day life. I realized on Mother’s Day this year that I had a problem. I was sad and hiding from the world and all those who care about me. Spending time with family became my next top priority.

You taught me many things in life, a lot of them important and some of them just practical. The lessons I miss most are those phone calls with you giving me instructions and recipes for our favorite mom-cooked meals. I long for those conversations again. They were simple and sweet, filled with life giving words and anticipation. 

I miss you calling me your “sweet angel.” It made me crazy while you were still alive. It made me feel like a kid still. Now, I long to hear you say it one more time. 

I miss just knowing you were around if I needed you. I have mom-appropriate questions for only you. No one else can answer them. Or just knowing that you were always there to tell me how proud of me you were. 

I just miss you. My whole heart aches knowing you won’t get to meet my future kids or get to celebrate life milestones with me.

I am faithful though knowing you are home with our Heavenly Father and happy. I know you are with me forever. I love you, Mama. 

Happy birthday in Heaven. XOXO

P.S. – Give PawPaw a hug for me. 

2 thoughts on “Today you would have been 53

  1. Julie, I don’t know anyone quite as brave as you. From giving your mother’s eulogy to openly talking about your depression to making major changes in your professional life, you continue to amaze me with the courage and tenacity you have. I love you. I’m so glad your husband has shared you with me and my family. I’m here for you if you ever need an ear that listens. I’m here for those conversations you just don’t think have an engaged listener. You are strong, fierce and on fire! Can’t wait to see what your future holds.

    Like

    1. Thank you sweet friend. I’m so glad Ryan shared you and your sweet family with me too. I’m so glad that we are forever friends to work through our highs and lows together.

      Like

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