I usually write you letters on Halloween, the anniversary of your death. Sometimes I've written on your birthday, or my birthday (the last time we spoke), or Mothers Day. This year I thought maybe one extra day would make the letter feel different somehow.
I know you weren't into the church thing, but stick with me on this one. Today is All Saints Day--the day when we remember those who have gone on before us, and celebrate the ways they let the Light shine through their lives.
So rather than focusing on how much I miss you (spoiler: a lot), I thought maybe I'd try thinking about the ways you shone a light during your too-short life, and the ways your light still shines in me.
(also...I kind of thought I might cry less with a letter like this. It's not working, since I've only just started and already the screen got all blurry.)
You were smart and you loved learning. I'm so grateful that you passed that love on to me. I cannot seem to stop learning new things, and I know that's because I grew up with you always facilitating my ongoing education (even when I was annoyed by that).
You loved people, no matter who they were or where they'd been. You were fiercely loyal to your friends, and worked hard to make sure they knew they were appreciated.
You loved music, and gave me permission to dance in the kitchen or sing along with the radio. I'll never forget the way we timed out our Sunday clarinet-lesson drives and their accompanying CDs so that we would get to sing Come Sail Away as the last thing before we pulled up in front of the house.
You laughed, often and well. People say my laugh is distinctive...I suspect some of it is yours. You taught me to see humor and not be too serious all the time. (Though I have to say that I'm not *always* sad to no longer have to wear a crazy yellow hat when it's my turn to deal the cards.)
You lived life in the moment. Sure, you planned, and sure, you took pictures, but I never got the sense that everything was being documented or that you were always behind the camera. We talked together, played together, opened presents together, looked at tidepools together...you were there with us, not just snapping photos but missing the moment. I'm going to choose to believe that the reason I have no photographs of my ordination day is because I subconsciously took this lesson to heart.
You loved to cook, and experiment in the kitchen, and find new delicious things to eat. Me too, on all fronts. (though I may experiment more and use recipes less, judging from the sheer number of your cookbooks that sit unopened on my shelf.)
You believed in us, and pushed us to be the best people we could be--people who lived passionately and changed the world for the better. I hope to be like you one day.
Thanks, mom, for letting your light shine--and helping mine shine too. Church or no church, you're a saint for sure.