A Letter to Mom

Dear Mom,
It's been two years ago today that you died. I'll never forget that call I got from the hospital. The phone woke me up at 6:12am that morning. I knew before I answered it who it was. The lady said it was Whittier Presbyterian Hospital and the doctor wanted to talk to me, could I hold on? I waited at least five minutes, which felt like an hour. The nurse got back on the phone and told me that I needed to get to the hospital as soon as I could. I knew you were gone, I just knew without being told. When I got to the hospital, Teri and dad were there waiting for me. I just looked at Teri and said, "she's gone", and Teri nodded her head. Then I saw dad's eyes. You know, I have this thing with people's eyes, they usually tell the whole story. Riley was only four days old, and at first I was so angry with you. I kept thinking how unfair it was for this to happen now, at a time that I was happier than I ever had been. But I soon realized that you needed to let go and that you had just hung on long enough in a failing body and mind just to know your first great grandchild was doing okay. But I gotta tell you mom, that was a tough one but you gave me the strength to be a survivor, you always told me if I got knocked down I better damn well get back up, so I did. Then I took my brand new granddaughter to your funeral. Life isn’t supposed to work like that.

I still work hard, and I always remember, as you always taught me, to help others when I can, so I keep at that. Riley just turned two years old a few days ago. All of us went to Disneyland. Riley loved it, she smiled and laughed the whole day long. You know, Riley is a lot like Katie, who as you well know is just like me. We all are a little "busy", talk too much, and are always doing something that makes everyone crazy. Katie is such a good mom, I'm proud of her. You always taught me, then my kids little songs. I teach Riley not just songs but to dance. I LOVE to dance with that little kid. Vinnie is the best dad I've ever known, much better than you know who, the one that I picked. I remember the card you sent to be after the divorce admiring me for doing it all “on my own”. And actually, I hope you have no idea what Dave’s up to now. Trust me, you wouldn't want to know. Katie and you knew how to find a better husband than I did. Brande is still doing great, the sensitive one, although she wouldn't want us to know. I know she misses you so much. You would be so proud of her, she works to help others, teaches little kids in an after school program and hates social injustices just like you always did. And she LOVES little Riley. Bryce is doing so good now, except he reminds me of dad , kind of spooky. He and Justine, who is the kindness person ever, live with me as does Brande. I like having them here. Bryce kind of keeps an eye on me to make sure I'm doing okay and helps me out. He just gets grumpy sometimes like dad did and is always working on his antiques and projects. Teri is doing great, she finally met a girl that is good to her, much better than "you know who". The holidays and birthdays are now much more fun. You would be proud of Teri. In the beginning of the year her and Linda had a commitment ceremony. It was awesome to see her finally be so comfortable, after all these years, with being gay.

And you, being the die hard Texan democrat you were, you would be so happy this election year. The first black man to run for President, Barrack Obama, I like him. He made his acceptance speech on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous speech. You have to know I've never forgotten what you taught me about living through the depression in Texas. And even in the economy today, I'm working hard to make you proud of Country Roads. I've been able to kind of use it as a way to give back to others and help when I can. And I know it always embarrassed you, naming a nursery after you, but "Johnnye Merle Gardens and Nursery" is still going strong too. I have battled with the City hard to keep them from turning it into a parking lot. Hopefully I can keep up the good fight, as you taught me to never give up. So, I just wanted you to know we are all doing okay and I miss you. But the lessons you taught me about life are still in my heart, in my kid's hearts, and in Riley's heart. We are a tight little family that all have good hearts! I love you mom, Sue

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