I wish we had more time but I am so unbelievably grateful that we had the time we had. When I was little, I remember gardening with you, sewing, cooking, making art projects. Much of who I am today is because of your influence. You have led a fascinating life. How many times did you reinvent yourself? There were plenty of bad times and tragedy in your life but you always managed to pull yourself up and start again. I have always admired that in you and try to apply it in my own life. All my life I watched you and learned. You could take a room and completely redecorate it on a dime inside of a weekend. You re-upholstered and re-finished furniture, painted, wallpapered, made furniture, curtains and accessories when necessary and even found time produce beautiful oil paintings that I am lucky to now have in my home.
You worked many years for Traveller’s insurance company and when that ended instead of despairing, you threw yourself into full-time volunteer work at Elliott hospital in Manchester until you were the president of the Associate’s. That was how you ended up being in the room with me while I had my first baby. It wasn’t planned but you were volunteering, came to see me and never left. You were there again when my second daughter was born that time planned. I almost pulled your sleeve off when I was pushing her. I couldn’t have done it without you. After the Associate’s you decided it was time to travel. You went to London and France first. When you came back, you had a whole new career as a travel agent. You were able to go anywhere you wanted and you did. I hope to do that myself someday. When you retired and moved to Florida that was really hard, I didn’t want you to be that far away. The girls were used to seeing you all the time and I was expecting Sam. But you told me it was your dream and asked me to be happy for you so I tried to do that. I could see that you were happy. You took up golf and started an organization for ladies to play 9 holes that still exists in your old neighborhood today along with the socialites group, and the book club. Back then we talked every Sunday morning for at least 2 hours at a time catching up. It was the only day I was sure you would be home, but it was a happy busy. Over the years we visited as often as we could with the kids and I came down usually twice a year. Remember, you called it “the spa”, you asked in advance what meals I wanted, filet mignon, city chicken, snow crab legs and we shopped and swam. You and survived through it all, it was “you and me against the world”.
About 6 years ago we had a powerful conversation late at night in your living room. You told me that when you die I am not to feel sad and cry for you. You said that at 78 years old, you felt very lucky, and felt that you had been able to do everything you ever wanted to with your life and more. The travel, the homes and friends, seeing your children and grandchildren grow up and the pride you felt in that. I cried and said I wasn’t ready to not have a mom and you told me I would be. You also promised that when you did go you would come and see me, I asked how I would know it was you, You said you would squeeze my hand. I will never forget that conversation and the more I thought about it the more I knew you were right, it’s the ebb and flow of life itself. When human beings grow old they die and we can only hope peacefully and with no unfinished business. It’s not a tragedy. I feel I took you for granted sometimes and would love to have one more spa visit with you but it’s just not to be. That stroke from last November has taken a tremendous toll and at 84 I understand that you have put up a good fight and are getting tired.
Mom, what I am trying to say is that I want to thank you for being the best mom, grandma and role model I could have had. I was lucky to have you. If it is indeed your time to fly away, it’s ok, I want you to know I will be ok I have the strength you instilled in me and all the knowledge you shared, we will be ok, it’s your turn to rest and we will never forget. I have passed a lot of those skills onto my own children so your legacy will go on for at least another generation besides mine. I love you so much Mom and as much as it breaks my heart that this could be happening during what is supposed to be such a joyous time of year, I am remembering all the beautiful Christmases that we have had thanks to you and I will pick up that torch and carry it forward as well. Mom, please keep your promise to squeeze my hand so I know that it’s really you somehow though, even if you don’t I know I will. And we are only going to say “goodbye for now” like we always did, and not forever.