My mother became 90 years of age on February 13, 2012. Due to religious differences she has not communicated for the last 20 years.
Every year I would write a letter to my mother bringing her up to date on my life hanging on to the thin thread of hopefulness. She has remained silent. Most of the times the letters were returned unopened with ‘Return to Sender’ neatly written on the envelope. Over the years her handwriting became a bit shaky but still it was her handwriting and for some odd reason I took solace in knowing that she herself had written the words. When a letter wasn’t returned I knew she had taken the time to read its contents. So this is a letter to my mom. I want her to know that there were things about her that I thought were just grand.
It has been 20 years since I have heard from you and I want you to know that I still think of you. I am amazed that you are 90 years old. I am told that with the exception of osteoporosis, you are in fairly good health and still as sharp as a tack. I’m not surprised as you always had a sharp mind.
Along with card and board games, I remember when the family would play Boggle. You could come up with words quicker than the lot of us. You always said it was crossword puzzles. I remember when your dad, our grandfather, came for a visit. There was no doubt as to where you got your game playing skills. He’d challenged you on your words and you’d drag out the dictionary… We all just loved it! It was pretty cool seeing someone challenge our mother. Do you know we still play to this day?
Your first great great grandchild was born one the 18th of February. You would just love him. He is so loved and so healthy. It takes me be back to the time when I had little ones. Everyone bombarded me with their ‘do’s and don’t’s of motherhood. There seemed as if there was so much pressure from others. “Don’t use a pacifier!” “Throw that bottle away!” I walked up to your house and using a bottle or pacifier when they are 20.” My sister, Janice, and I wanted our girls to excel in school. We’d freak out over every little thing. You were crocheting and you looked up and said “If it doesn’t matter in 10 years then it doesn’t matter now.” Such wise words…
You don’t know me now, Mother, but I want you to know that I am having a remarkable life. My children are grown adults with children of their own. We are a very close knit family. I love life and have accumulated many wonderful memories. We think of you often. I think I can speak for the whole family when I say that we love you. We are sad that you not part of our lives. However, we know that you must stand in your truth as we stand ours. Godspeed to you, my mother.
All my love,
Over the years, Mother and I, for the most part did not get along. I have a choice… I can look at the past with sorrow or I can choose to remember the beauty and magic of it all. I choose the beauty and magic.
Susan Banner Todd
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