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The Long Forgotten Letter

Robin Avery


On the eve before I left for college, I penned a letter to my mom.  Years went by and I didn't think another thing about it until twenty-two years later.

My mother had been ill with cancer, and knowing her life was coming to a close,

she pulled that old letter out of her desk and laid it on the end table by her green recliner.

When my mom had passed and the preacher came to console my sister, he found the letter.  Since I was in route from Texas to Ohio, he phoned and asked if he might be allowed to read it at my mom's memorial.  Having completely forgotten what I wrote, I was taken aback that she had saved it.  Even more amazing,  she had meant for it to be found! 

I gave him permission to share it at the service. It really brought me to my knees when he eloquently read it aloud. 

Here is the letter she had treasured all those years.

What Is a Mother?

    A mother is a person who opens up the world to you step by step....

    A mother fondles you and comforts you in time of illness and sadness. She is also quick to share your joys and share in your successes and to praise you in times of victory.

    Remember, Mother, all those days of being a Scout leader, chauffeur,  nurse, seamstress, and cook?

    Remember all those spelling tests you had to give me? How you had to roll up my hair at night until I was almost 16? How I almost died when Johnny Kimpel broke up with me?

Remember all those campaign speeches and throw-outs we made?

And the formals and the proms I needed a “new dress” for?  And how the living room floor shook with my cheerleading leaps?

    But I don't think that the hardest part of being a mother is the noise you listen to, the rushing around, the expenses or the fatigue.

    The MOST difficult part must be when the house is FINALLY emptied... no longer a whirlwind of activity.

    That's when I think being a parent is the hardest.  But there's comfort in knowing that the emptiness is only physical.  In my heart there's enough love to fill up that room many times over...enough to thank you for guiding me to being the woman I am.        

    Perhaps I'll be lucky enough to be as fine a mother as you have been to me. 

Love you,