Dear Mama,

It’s almost Mother’s Day weekend and this year it feels harder than most. While I see you often, most days you seem farther away.

I want to grab onto you and pull you back.

This walking loss is hard to comprehend and I try to face it all with a brave heart, but sometimes I’ll find a quiet corner in a random parking lot and let everything out with a good cry. A few weeks ago, I was on Facebook and realized that I had years of past messages from you that I had never thought to go back to. I spent a long time reading through those messages and it brought me so much comfort to see your words. To read that you loved me, that you were proud of me. To hear you talk about all the grandkids and our family. I could hear your voice saying you were praying for me. It was the most beautiful and the most painful two hours I’d spent in a long time. I read through all those messages and imagined we were talking in person. It was a cherished gift, that made my heart both ache and fill with love all at once.

I love you my mama.

I was thinking this week about what present I could get you for Mother’s Day. I know you love flowers and you always say they are so pretty, so I’ll bring you a beautiful bouquet. Dad says you need some new pyjamas (he’s incredible and takes such good care of you), so I’ll go get the prettiest ones I can find. I think of all the things that you love and I want to surround you with what makes you happy.

As I was thinking about presents, I started thinking about presence. About the things that money can’t buy.

I thought about all you’ve given me over the years, and how your presence has been one of the greatest gifts in my life. 

I can look around our home and see the things that I do, because they are things that you did. I always have a cute centrepiece on the kitchen table. Because you did. I always clean up the dishes right after dinner. Because you did. I have teabags in a little jar on the counter. Because you did. I have a weird Tupperware flour-shaker to make gravy that always makes a mess. Because you did. I hate crumbs on the counter, love hot drinks in a pretty cup, decorate for seasons and make hello dollies every Christmas. Because you did.

Your presence is my life is strong. 

The woman that I am. The wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and everything else that I try to be. I’m always wanting to be more like you. My faith and my passions. My longing to love other people well. All those parts of me have the fingerprints of your presence that have touched my life all these years.

I want to be to others what you have always been to me. You’ve set a high bar, but I’ll keep trying.

And I think maybe now the best gift I can give back to you is presence too.

So, I’ll sit with you and hold your hand as often as I can.

I’ll stare deep in your eyes and tell you I love you.

Play the music that makes your smile. 

Walk beside you and hold onto you tight so you’re not afraid.

You and me.

Is what you say sometimes when we are sitting together.

I’ll keep on saying it to you.

You and me.

Always on this road.

No matter where it goes.

We will go together.

Giving the gifts of presence.

You to me, and me to you.

Because you did.

Happy Mother’s Day Mama,

I love you.