don’t ever discount the wonder of your tears

I write the same thing every January 18th – it seems impossible that nearly an entire childhood has passed since the day we had to say goodbye to my extraordinary mother.

11 years ought to mean I miss her less. With Amy’s adventure into motherhood and my journey into marriage, I will say that this year I have missed her close to most. I have been fortunate to have many wonderful women in my life – Lisa, my Aunties, Nana, the girls, and many of my Mom’s long-time friends never fail to show us the motherly love all kids need – but as I venture further into adulthood I can’t help but wonder how we would be. What would it be like to dive into dating and breakups, marriage and babies with her here? These are the things we’d play and dream about.

I feel like yesterday I was talking about the cutest high school boys, learning how to wear makeup, and riding in the yellow Jeep with her. So maybe part of me will always be 15.

“You have all come here today to celebrate my life, and oh such a great one it was. Possibly I knew it might be short, so I tried to live each day to its fullest, smashing everything I could into 24 hours. I did not want to miss anything. I wanted to go everywhere and do everything. I wanted to touch all of you. I wanted to go for it, and I did, and then God decided I could best serve Him, beside Him. Don’t be angry, just carry on my dreams.

Al, the love of my life. I will miss your touch, the special way that you would look at me and the way you could read my mind. You are my soul mate, my knight in shining armor. I can leave knowing the kids will be fine. You will have each other, and when you look at them you will see me. Al, listen and you will hear me.

Amy, Ashley, and Joe. I am so proud of you. You are everything I would have wanted you to be. You are the loves of my life and every waking moment of my day was dedicated to you. Take care of Dad, Nana Shirley and Papa Rich, do good in school, stay out of trouble, and keep God in your life. Teach your kids what I taught you; to give of yourselves unselfishly, to see the best in people and to forgive willingly. What I wish for you is happiness and the fulfillment I received from you. My hope is that you will find someone like I did in your Dad who will love you unconditionally and who you can share your life with. My spirit lives within you. “Celebrate your spirit” is what Oprah would say, and you know how much I liked Oprah. Stay close to each other. Your brother and your sister will be your best friends. Lastly, listen to your Dad. He will know what is best for you, and when Auntie Anne tells you to go to the doctor, go, and when Nana tells you to go to bed, go. Be good examples for your little cousins. They look up to you. Play my CD’s in the house and in the car really loud, and sing! You inherited my energy, so run towards your dreams, don’t walk and don’t be afraid. Listen and you will hear me.

Mom and Dad. I would not have been me without you. Everything that I am or had hoped to be is because of you. You have always been there for me. You taught me the importance of family, commitment, and faith. Your unyielding love runs through me and flows from Al and the kids back to you. Al couldn’t be more of a son to you unless he would have been born to you. I know Al, and the kids will be fine because you will have one eye on them, and Mom, you hear everything. So, listen and you will hear me.

Anne, Bill, Jim, and Lisa. Take care of your brother Al. He might need your shoulder every once in a while. Be there for the kids. Even though they are pretty independent they will still need a little mothering sometimes. Keep celebrating all the birthdays and Christmas with lots of presents and good food. Take care of my nieces and nephews and when you come to my house they can have as much candy out of Auntie Linda’s special drawer as they want. Remember me every time you step on a “Lite Brite” in the middle of the night. Take care of Mom and Dad. Go to the cabin a lot. Dad likes that. Listen, and you will hear me.

All my cousins, aunts, and uncles. Thanks for being here. Stay connected with Al and the kids. They love California and being with you. I am with Grandma and Grandpa now. Grandpa always had a twinkle in his eye for me and you should see that twinkle now.

To anyone I have cut, curled, permed, styled, or washed. I will not miss playing with your hair as much as I will miss the time I spent with you. It never felt like a job, but an opportunity for us to talk. Thank you for sharing yourself with me. You enriched me life. No one else will be able to cut your hair like I did and that’s ok, but tell them about yourself. You will be giving them a gift, because then they will know you. Listen and you will hear me.

To Amy, Ashley, and Joe’s friends. My kids need you now. Encourage them to talk about me. Come to my house and have crazy parties. Not too crazy, because Al has to get up in the morning. Support them, and every once in a while, share your Mom with them.

To all my friends. The class of ’76 was the best and will always be. Stick together and support each other like you supported me. I loved growing into adulthood with you. We turned out really good.

Coffee girls. I will miss the lattes and the laughs. You are the best neighbors anyone could have asked for. Mary, keep walking. It’s good for you.

Swim team friends, hockey friends. You have been there for us, helping to keep the kids on track. They will especially need all of you now to be with them while they do the things they love so much.

To all of you. Exercise, eat Godivas, plant flowers, build something, preferably out of rocks. Laugh with your friends. Drink lattes, shop till you drop, tell your kids that you love them everyday. Go somewhere warm in the winter and build a house for a family, maybe in Mexico. Be the first one to help a neighbor. Commit yourself to a charity, go to lunch with your sister, hug your Mom, kiss your Dad. Ask your brother over for dinner. Go away for a weekend with your husband. Call your cousins. Send a card for no reason. Get up early. Paint. Sing. Dance. Run, don’t walk toward your dreams. Go for it. Believe in angels and listen, you will hear me.”

written by Auntie Anne in memory of Linda
(January 18, 2001)

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