Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Letter...

Mom & Me, March 2003, Stowe, VT

Yesterday the doorbell rang and I assumed it was UPS or the mail man.  It was the neighbors from across the street.  I personally haven't talked to them much other than the friendly neighbor wave or small talk.  I know their names and can gather their general habits, hobbies and comings and goings in that way you become of aware of these things merely because you live next door.

A few weeks ago when someone would offer me the "I'm so sorry to hear about your mom" I would say thanks and hug them and not break down.  Fast forward a month since mom has passed, (a month! a month, I want to scream.  How can it be a month already and how I have managed to survive?) and now I pretty much lose it when someone offers me that simple sentiment.  I choke up and hold back the tears and we all awkwardly change the subject or deflect to the kids.  My insides ache with a soft longing.  I feel that uneasy sense that something isn't right or that the other shoe is going to drop.  Times like these make you a little less confident, a little less sure of yourself and the world.

So the neighbors are on my doorstep with flowers and a card and a quick hug and a word or two.  Evan managed to explain he was going to be Captain America for Halloween.  The interaction was quick but the result will be everlasting.  I would like to share the letter that my neighbor enclosed:

October 10, 2012

Dear Tricia,
     Back in September my husband and your husband had some discussions about lawn tractors and tomatoes.  I hung around a bit and learned that you were writing a blog.  I know we've only waved a few times across the street, but I feel as though I know you a little because I've occasionally read your blog.  I've marveled at what a good mom you are and know that your children are very lucky.

     I read your beautifully written update yesterday and it brought me to tears.  I'm so sorry your mother passed away, but your writing about her helps me understand why you're such a good mom.

I hope your family will have many, many special occasions to celebrate your mother with champagne!

And in this simple gesture, her words healed me just a tiny bit.  This stranger who is my neighbor.  So it is true that in this world all we have to give is love and in giving it, reaching out, we can make a difference.

Throughout this entire journey I have been moved, touched and inspired by everything everyone has done to help heal my heart.  Things such as knowing that the right thing to do for me is to send me a really funny email to take my mind off the constant suffering, pick my kids up to give me an hour or two alone, or simply call to say "I'm just checking on you."  All these small things are really everything to me these days. And that's how mom was.  She was a true friend and a person you could rely on in good times and bad.

It makes me question if I have done enough for those people around me who were suffering or in pain.  Did I call, send a card or ever step up?  I have a new arsenal of ideas of how to support people now.  Because it's never to late to learn new life lessons. I thank you all so much.  Even though I want to lie down on the couch and not pick up the phone or go to events or see friends, I know it is my lifeline and I must slowly slowly keep moving.

I view this time in my life as a turning point.  I get to say how it turns out.  I get to reevaluate my life and make adjustments.  I get to dig really deep and gather up all my strength and courage and channel the amazing woman I had the privilege to call MOM.  It's what she would want me to do for myself and the kids and my family.

**and in my true spirit, you know damn well I did a little "wrinkle remover" edit on my mom's photo.  Dead or alive, nobody wants wrinkles.  I got your back Mom. xo


  1. Guuurrl. You are amazing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your positive attitude, your lessons, and your brilliant style and grace. No wonder I was drawn to you before anyone else in 2nd grade. I would have been a fool not to befriend one of the most amazing ladies I know. :)
    Love you!

  2. What a lovely anecdote. I, too, have some very special neighbors who do extremely thoughtful things out of the blue now and then, just because. It means so much, doesn't it?

  3. Tricia,
    I lost my daddy a few years ago and I remember being SHOCKED the morning after he died that the sun came up. I couldn't believe the world just KEPT TURNING. And then, after he'd been gone a month, thinking that I'd never gone an entire month without speaking to him. Not one month of my whole life. I remember feeling like I wore my grief like a sweater - I was always layered in it. Even when I was just buying groceries, I felt like the checkout lady could SEE my grief.
    I want you to know that the pain dulls with time. There will be awful days and there will be ok days. And then, there will come a time when the thought of her won't cause you intense pain. That day is coming. But until then, hang in there. And know how truly sorry I am for your loss.