Dear Mom, (or should I say Teena the Great with her hair curled straight!)
It has been a long time…nearly a decade now. Strange, the day that you were leaving us, was probably the day that one of my fourth grade students was being born. Probably. These kids have been alive and growing as long as you’ve moved on and continued growing in your own realm, no doubt.
So, what have you been up to? Have you been taking long walks down golden cobble stone paths to the pearly gate with Dad and my dogs Elvie and Jack? I remember your passion for walking and talking to friends and neighbors along the way. Have you been writing in the the Book of Life, taking notes on what we’re doing down here, like you did when we were kids? I hope you have taken care to focus on the good things I have done, or that I am attempting. I am trying to stay tuned to the higher frequency channels of love, joy, and understanding. Sometimes I need help from others to recalibrate.
I guess you could say I have been doing some growing. Growing into adulthood, which has freaked me out for the last twenty years or so. I have fought it largely. I still feel like a child, and yet I am learning adult things and lessons.
The kids have grown so much. Donavon, Devon, Delanie. They are practically adults now too. And I have been growing into my career as a teacher, and feel I have many hundreds of adopted children to continue to pray for.
I do regret that I haven’t put more time into growing some of my closest relationships. I am grateful Mark is still hanging in there, hoping I’ll turn myself around… in my own unique version of the Hokie Pokie. We are all well enough and content with living in our beautiful Wanship valley, in spite of a conflicted pressurized pipe project still not happening.
I saw a little yellow breasted songbird yesterday; a red-winged black bird today. It was sitting and singing away on a road reflector sign. I was reminded of you and your love for nature and birds. I remember how you would call the red crested cardinals in Texas.
I’m sure you know, and have probably seen her on Earthbook, but Suni has been married for two years now. She is a wonderful sister. She is a courageous and cheerful overcomer. She is happy and has adjusted to a new married lifestyle and the responsibilities that go with it. She and I have taken some self-help classes together and continue to find more and more in common as we grow closer together in aging. It will be fun to see children come into her new family.
Mark works at the new IHC hospital in Park City. It had not been built yet back when we rushed you to the hospital. These days Park City Medical Center is a real blessing to the people and communities in Summit County, with full services, including a Womens’ Center, delivery room, and specialties in orthopedics. It is a beautiful ski lodge-like building with a wonderful organic gourmet cafe. Donavon worked there in the kitchen washing dishes for a month or two to save money for his mission. Then, he switched to a job at Staples, an office supply store.
Donavon is on a mission in Italy. He has been out for over a year. He has served on the island of Sicily and is now on Malta. He has been a part of bringing a woman and her twelve year old son to Christ. I wish you and dad could have been here for Donavon’s high school graduation and mission farewell. Oh well, you are probably closer and more in touch with Donavon than the rest of us are.
Devon will be a senior in high school in the fall. She is bright and quirky and motivated in her academic, church, and work circles. She swims on the swim team and plays softball for North Summit. She is a good friend to all and an inspiration to me.
Delanie is still very sweet and patient in any situation. She is our comedic angel. She and Devon have both learned to play the piano well enough to accompany in the church hymns, but Delanie loves drama, the outdoors, dancing, babysitting, Paradise dolls (still), make up, and a particular un-named BOY! Whatever she does in life, I hope she lives nearby to love me into my old age. This will be mannnnnnnny years coming.
I think you would be pretty happy with the way things have progressed over time. All the siblings stay in touch and get along. I hope that you and dad are happy doing the work on the other side. Please stay near. Sometimes I think I feel you are with me…like at Brittany Bolinder’s farewell when the woman sang, “Oh that I were and Angel.” This was one of your favorite selections to sing. You are probably doing angel tasks now or singing in some Heavenly Choir, aren’t you? I hope you are receiving the wishes of your heart. Dad is likely working in some Heavenly sharecrop garden, playing piano, and drawing and painting beautifully. At least this is how I “frame it” in my mind.
Please know that the choices I made, and mistakes that I suffered and caused you to ache over were not to hurt you but to help to me to learn and to grow. This continues. You did the best you could with what you knew, and with what you had seen your parents do. I understand. I love you, and I don’t blame you for my sins.
I am sorry that I abandoned you that last week of life. I am glad I could be there at the house, but am ashamed of the way I behaved. I have been trying to become increasingly aware of matters of the heart, to listen to pure intentions, to not judge so quickly, to love more freely to respond with empathy. Sometimes it is difficult to feel this love, and at other times it is so strong I can’t contain it. I am still struggling with sin and temptation. This is the human condition I suppose.
Church is good enough. Sometimes I visit other congregations. I am still going to the LDS Ward, and questioning so many things. I feel toward knowing that much of it is true and I can feel the spirit at times reminding me to follow Christ, keep His commandments and to serve others on my path. I especially love helping the very young in the nursery class at church.
I love being with Devon and Delanie in laughing and to learning along side them, and to see them grow into womanhood. They have so much to offer and to teach others. I am also pursueing my own reconversion to the doctorine, and to learning social graces.
Mark and I attended the TREK with Devon last summer. This was a wonderful faith growing experience. I prayed that I wouldl be blessed to finish strongly and happily, and I did. This gave me cause to relfect on ancestors and on the responsibility of teaching morality and Christian values to children in word and in deed. This is a Big job in both parenting and in teaching at school.
I struggle with peoples’ aires of exclusivism, superiority, and pride. People posess this both in and out of the church. I mostly recognize it in myself and in the church. I don’t like Relief Society much, and I feel a disdain for many weak women. There are a few in my life who are exceptions. The other womanly place I dislike is the lunch lounge at school. Some places tend to be a breeding ground for pride and gossip, neither of which is becoming of Christians. I try to stay away from these things. Mostly I think I just feel sadness, and envy that I don’t have friends as others seem to have. I like my own farm chicken coop much better than the hen houses at church or school. I wish I could say I feel otherwise. This could change too I suppose.
I have felt most of my life like I don’t fit in anywhere. This is especially true at church, except for choir practice, and teaching Primary. People and their pettiness baffle me. It is hard to reconcile the human flaws with Christianity. So many proclaim the belief, but struggle with living it. This disappoints me. At the same time I disappoint myself. Must learn to forgive.
I have spent most of my adult life feeling alone and friendless, like a fish in a bowl…….just aimlessly swimming around, telling myself to just keep swimming. Fortunately I have had the presence of mind to keep the faith-believing in Christ. Christ is the reason I go to church, and also for the children and for Mark. I used to love to go to church. Something has changed over time, but maybe I will feel differently again. Perhaps if I prayed more and studied if would help. Writing sometimes brings answers. Sometimes…..not. Sometimes brings problems. A calling and friends would likely help me.
I am happy to inform you that I am of sound and healthy body. I try to take care of my body, to swim, and to hike, and eat sensibly. I worry more about my mental health though….my biggest fear being that I venture into paths of mental illness and depression. I am woking on thought patterns and habits of positivity. I am doing preventative maintenance through exercise, choice of friends, learning energy principles, reading self-help books, attending wholistic classes, praying, and applying faith. Faith and prayer are probably the best tools available. Reassuring friends, the other. My greatest most recent and troubling fear is that I may be a narcissist and haven’t even known it. I am reading about this condition, and hope to find answers so I can know what to do to right my ways.
Mom, I am sorry if I caused you pain and suffering accesory to your mental illness and to decline. I am sorry I was not able to welcome you in and to nurse you back to healthier ways, peace, and comfort after your injuries. I am thankful for Troy’s huge heart. I regret not staying near you at the end, and in your passing, too obsorbed in myself. I want to change this and hope I can. My biggest fears being…..that I will go crazy, and that I will be left alone, and unloved. Sometimes I feel unloved even now. Being surrounded by children helps quell these insecurities though.
Please know that I love you and appreciate all you have done to teach me faith, integrity, importance of loyalty and family; for supporting and cheering me on in my athletics and academics. I wish I had told you this more. I wish I had been more kind, and patient and attending to your needs.
But that is all behind us. We are no longer those people. I look forward with a longing…a hope and anticipation of glorious events and places soon to come. I believe Christ will come again, perhaps in my life time. I look forward to our reunion in Heaven. Please save me a seat if that is allowed, but know that I tend to narrate, or so they tell me.
All my love, your daughter.