Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

This time of year is always a little tough for me. On Sunday, we celebrated Mother's Day and a few days before that, your birthday. You've made it another year, 56 years old! For some reason, it hit me a little harder this year. As I wrote your birthday post on Facebook, the tears slid down my cheeks, just a few at first and then as if a dam had burst as I was overcome with my grief. People tell me that I am strong, but there are moments (like that one) when I'm not so sure that is true. I posted a beautiful picture of you with my Aubrey (taken on her first birthday) and so many thoughts and emotions surged through me. So many things that I wish I could say to you and share with you. Sometimes I talk to you anyway. I know you don't understand, but still, I tell you about the kids' accomplishments, things that are going on in our lives. I suppose it's more of a comfort for me to feel like I can still tell you what is happening. And so I write you this letter with the things that have been in my heart over the past week.

Looking at that picture reminded me of the deep love and devotion you had for your grandchildren. Sometimes I can't help but to daydream about what life would be like if you were still here with us, free of this disease. I imagine the family dinners, the family trips and vacations that we would have. I imagine the holidays and all of the festivities and traditions that make them so special. I imagine shopping trips and mother/daughter days out. I imagine you sitting with us on opening night of Aubrey's theatre shows, or her voice recitals, or the boys' ball games. No doubt you would be so proud of the accomplishments of all of your grandchildren.

This birthday we wanted to celebrate you, even if you didn't understand. Jeff called me from work and offered to pick up dinner from Miguel's in your honor, since it was your favorite place to eat! We took our dinner over to your house and ate and reminisced about the birthdays spent at Miguel's. When you came into the room, we all sang "Happy Birthday" to you and the grandkids showered you with affection. I had a faint hope that the song might spark some recognition with you. I don't know that it did, but you did get that cute grin on your face that you sometimes get when anyone tries to hug you.

There is nothing left I can give to you but my love. For your gift this year, I decided to make your famous English Toffee to sell and raise money for your caregiving fund. I was blown away by the love and support from friends and family. Over 100 pounds of toffee was ordered!! We spent all week working on filling those orders-Jeff, dad and a few friends from church all pitched in to make this happen. You would be so proud of Dad; he's become quite the accomplished toffee maker!! It was such a sweet thing to be making your toffee recipe, keeping your legacy alive while doing this act of service for you. Though 100 pounds of toffee seemed a bit daunting at times, I never felt anything but love while I worked. This was my gift to you.

Some people ordered just to show support (some continue to order because they've become addicted to your recipe! Ha ha). Some friends gave donations to your caregiving fund without ordering toffee at all. Other friends left large tips to go towards your caregiving expenses (one dear friend of yours left me with a $180 tip!!) Through all of the ordering and the cooking and the tipping, I began to realize how much you have affected other people's lives. I think you would be truly touched to see the outpouring of love and support of your friends, family and church family. Your journey has even touched those who have never had the honor of meeting you personally. If I could bring you back for just one minute and tell you just one thing on this birthday, I would tell you just how much YOU ARE LOVED. You are loved by so many people. I love you, Mom. Not a day goes by that I don't miss you. That ache in my heart will never go away. I will put on my brave face for you. I will continue to fight for you and to care for you, as best as I am able. I will forever hold the faith and hope in my heart that we will be reunited again someday.

Happy Birthday and Happy Mother's Day. I love you more than you know.

Your devoted daughter,

Cassandra

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