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Letters from my mom

daddy_and_mamaI’m trying not to panic.
But I can’t find them!
The originals.

But I do have a copy, even of the outer envelope that says:envelope_from_mamaLetters from my mom.
She wrote them from September 1988 through June 2002.

She started them prior to an airplane trip with my dad. She wanted to leave each of us kids comforting words if anything bad happened. It didn’t. But she kept up the practice of secretly writing us letters anyway and storing them away.

She not only met our needs in the moment, but she was looking ahead to meet them later too.

Because that’s the kind of mother she was.

We didn’t know about the letters until last spring. My brother discovered them when we were taking care of Mama in her house after Daddy died. We each had our own envelope.

Because she was falling deeper into Alzheimer’s so quickly by then, I felt justified in not waiting until her death to open my envelope. Part of Mama had already died; I wanted to read now what the old Mama had to say so I could love this new Mama even more while I could.

But would she notice if I took the letters and would that upset her? I wasn’t sure. So I snuck the letters out, brought them home and made copies, then took them back to her house.

And read them.

Oh my.

There were eight. Some were written to mark significant times in my life:

  • After my first husband left, she wrote:
    “I’ve hurt all along with you. Some things we never understand. …You are a beautiful person and I have no doubt that you’ll find a man who will love and appreciate you and your sweet, smiling Morgan. I’m proud of you and I love you.”
  • After my baby Kali died:
    “I hope I live to see you get through the grieving to the point you can smile without that pain in your eyes. I still grieve that Kali couldn’t live and do the things the other grandchildren do & to know her & share times with her.”

She wrote some letters during ordinary times:

  • “Just want you to know that I love you and am still proud of you and so thankful for Jeff being such a loving husband and father.”

But all spoke to giving us comfort after she died:

  • By the way, I have no fear because I have a Savior that is with me thru it all even until and after death.
  • Don’t grieve over me too long. Be happy, thinking happy thoughts because I’m going to heaven.
  • I’m ready to die when my time comes. …I feel safe and I don’t want you grieving a lot. I’m going to heaven & I expect to see you there.

What a mom. She used her life to also take care of me after her death.

And I want to continue honoring her even after her death.

Like the letters, I can’t put my hands on the original of my mom either. I’ll keep looking for the letters, but I don’t have to keep looking for my mom.

I haven’t lost her.

I know exactly where she is. And I still hear her telling me:


Yes, Mama, it will be wonderful to all be together in heaven some day.
I’ll see you there.

I love you, too,

* * *

If you’re a parent, are you leaving anything for your kids after you’re gone?


Julie said...

OH My Lisa....I wept as I read your post this morning...My own mama's death is still fresher than I think..
It is a wonderful thing to hold...the gift of a mom who loved the Lord, who lived her faith OUT LOUD, and talked of it to her children, encouraging, sometimes even exhorting into our adult years...the testimony lived for the Savior...not just spoken but acted on...I truly love MY mama for all she did to make sure I "caught" that from her..She knew it was the ONE thing that life was all about...
living as though God were right there...alongside...YOUR mom's words are precious. sometimes most likely a bright light reminding you...sometimes maybe a salve that comforts you...I know. I am a mom. And I am walking the same path my mama walked ahead of me. It is a comfort to either have letters or memories of conversations to open up again and be strengthened from a godly mama...Thank you Lord...Thank you Lisa for a beautiful post. Hugs to you...xxo

Monica Sharman said...

Dearest Lisa,
What you have given me in this post here. Thank you so very much. You have found yourself a place deeper in my heart.
How awesome that she left you letters to be opened only after her death. Words to be cherished. She was a gem. May I be such a mother who loves like she did.

Love Bears All Things said...

Such a beautiful post...
My Mama has gone home too.....I miss her but I feel her presence here with me..and as I reach the milestones in my life that she lived through, I think of her at that age and wonder did she feel what I'm feeling...
I journal and I have that to leave for my children...lately, I've been thinking of writing letters in the current book...
Mama Bear

Unknown said...

What a wonderful legacy your mother left you. To always have her words and know her heart. That is quite a blessing. Thank you for sharing this Lisa.

Holly said...

What a beautiful legacy from your mother! Thank you for sharing it with me; it makes me appreciate my own mom even more.

Nikole Hahn said...

What a wonderful mother you had! You two must have been so close.

Brenda said...

Hard to read Lisa. So beautifully written. First the picture. A loving couple happily working together. Then to think of a sweet mom as wrote each letter. Such encouragement. And wise words. I was trying to console a friend through a heartache involving their child today. Instead of rambling on trying to say the right words I wish I had said your mom's words.."I've hurt all along with you. Some things we never understand"That says it all. Then her talking of being ready for death but worried about her children. She left a request from her, be happy. Don't grieve too long. She is pretty much saying, This Mother's Day, as hard as it will be, make sure there are some smiles and laughter in it.

Barbara H. said...

So glad you copied those! What a treasure. In sorting through things as we moved I came across some cards and letters from my Mom. Nothing like what you have here -- she preferred calling to writing, so we don't have much that she wrote. But they're precious all the same

This also encourages me to do the same for my sons. I had started writing some family history things and "things I want you to know as you grow up," but they weren't terribly interested. I wasn't as interested in that kind of thing, either, until I started having children, so I know they might treasure them some day.

Katie said...

Oh Lisa... words escape me. What a precious gift from God and from your mom those letters are. Thank you for sharing them with us.

Cherry Warrick said...

This was so meaningful, and emotional. Thanks for sharing these precious letters ... and for sharing this idea with us, as how we can bless our children even after we are gone.

messy marriage said...

What an incredible idea your mother had. It keeps her with you just a bit here on earth. And, as she said, you will always have her one day in heaven.

Thanks for sharing such a touching story!

Caroline said...

Oh my. I'm at a loss for words, too. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing this post.

Nice to meet you through Faith Barista's Faith Jam.

Cathy said...

Hi Lisa,

I'm trying my best to hold back the tears while reading this.


Moms are the best!

Happy Mother's day!

Patti said...

This is just incredible. What a gift! What a treasure. This I want to do for my children.

Thank you so much for sharing, and praise God for your godly mama who loved you so much and loved Jesus even more!

Bonnie Gray said...

Oh, Lisa! *blowing nose*
You've just gone and made me cry. Good tears. I didn't know there was such a time in your life with such pain - your first husband leaving and the death of your child?! Lisa! No wonder you have such depth to your heart. Where there is pain, there is much love from our Lord. And from your mother. You are SO blessed. These words of hers. I felt so incredible honored for you to share them with us. Priceless. Thank you. Thank you.


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