There were a few weak nanoseconds the last day or so when it crossed my mind that “whoa, there won’t be any more letters to my parents.”
Thankfully those faulty, short sighted moments were shelved. I’ve made a mental U-turn. There will be letters to mom.
Although my mother cannot read, she can listen up a storm. So, the plan is to continue writing to her every Friday at whatever address she is at. The staff will be told that when a letter arrives addressed to my mother from me, they have my permission to open the envelope and read the letter to her. There will be a few minor tweaks to sentences and paragraphs; maybe fewer words, simpler (and hopefully easier to grasp) sentence structure.
It will be a jolt to remove dad’s name from the salutation. The intent will be the same; convey our love for her, let her know what I’m up to, keep her informed on her grandchildren, and assure her that she will remain a central force in my life.
Here is today’s letter to mom.
July 2, 2010
Well, it has been a week of all weeks, and now we’ve got to move things on from here. I was very proud of you these last few days. As Jennifer told you, it would be very hard and you came through with flying colors. Dad would have proud of you, too. You really hung in there.
I am really proud of dad, too. He closed things out in the way you would expect him to. He was strong to the end – and he knew when you were in the room – and he was pain-free and relaxed and composed. The hospice staff did a marvelous job. Now that he is at rest, all of us will have the memories of decades and decades of fun and good times. That’s how I will remember him, and I hope you do, too.
The services were incredible and lovely. Could you believe all the friends that flocked to you during the visitation and at the Memorial Service? Honestly, they were just waiting in line to talk to you. I’m glad Ellen was there to help you sort through people. She really enjoyed that.
The minister did just an incredible job. Even though you two didn’t really know him, he made things sound like he was an old family friend simply retelling stories. That was very nice. What was impressive (even before the service) is that when he was talking to us about how the Memorial Service would be, he never turned away from us when his phone rang. The altar was filled with beautiful flowers, some of which we’ve toted out to your place, while others will stay at the church so others can enjoy them this weekend.
Mom, it’s been a tough thing to try to help dad in his final days, but I want you to know that now you will be the center of our attention. Your other son and I love you very much – just as we did dad. I’m going to keep writing to you every single week, and if the nurses can stand it without laughing at the way I write, then they can read the letters to you. So you keep in there, keep your chin up and remember dad for what he was, a great husband, a good friend, and an incredible father to your two boys.