Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dear Barbara

Dear Barbara,

Hi. It’s me, Anne. I am not sure of myself today. I am trying to write, to express what is on my mind and in my heart, but I’m all over the place in terms of getting the words down on paper. I hope you will forgive my lack of composure. I think it’s more important that I just say what I think I need to say instead of worrying over whether or not I am being eloquent. So here goes.

It was always important to me that I come to know you, to know who you are, to earn your approval because I married your Eric. I was very blessed to have my own wonderful mother. We were always very close, and I knew that Eric was close to his mom too and I liked that. In the early years after I first met you, you were most quiet with me, as can be your nature, and I worried at times that I was not proving to you that I was a good choice for your son. I was (and still am) vain, self-centered, loose-lipped, dramatic, and showy at times. I worried, “Am I too loud? Am I ditsy? Did I talk too much? Did I say the wrong thing?” I replayed what had come out of my mouth and I wasn’t sure what you thought of me and I wanted so much for you to like me.

But when I got to meet your Mom and Dad, I began to realize that the challenge I thought I had in getting to know you was indicative of my own immaturity and limited experiences. After getting engaged to Eric, I wanted to know my husband’s mom better so I began to try harder. You were simply someone unlike anyone I’d met before and that was more than okay. I needed to be quiet myself and pay attention to you. I needed to let all that you are wash over me. I had some help along the way. I met your parents. I saw you in the twinkling of Jack Lovell’s eyes and in the love and grace and pride of your mother Ann. And that’s when I got to see what Eric had in you. That’s when I knew all that there is to appreciate in you.

And then we had children. You became “Meme Walker”. Our children love you so much. I particularly enjoy how Paul has always been able to see your wit, to hear the jokes you make quietly under your breath, to find the humor and affection you display with your husband. It was Paul, I think, who secured my love and appreciation for you. And now I have a son of my own, a son who has become most interested in girls, a son I am preparing carefully and most thoughtfully to someday fall in love, marry, and start a family of his own. I want, more than anything, for my son to be just as wonderful a man as your son. And yes, I have every reason to believe that will be the case.

As we prepare to celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary on Monday, I am so happy to be married to Eric. What a good guy he is. I am grateful to you for everything you are and everything you have done to make him the man he is today. I was just 15 years old when I began coming over to your house in Millinocket. I knew back then that Eric adored you. The affectionate teen he was grew to become a good man who continued to love his Mom with his whole heart. When Eric asked me to marry him, I knew I would forever be protected, respected, and honored by him in the way he always displayed protection, respect, and honor for you.

As the years went by I came to know that you did approve of the woman your first born son had married. I loved the way you made me feel special whenever you’d bring over a new serving dish that had been your Mom’s or Mana’s, items that were for entertaining. “I know you like to entertain”, you’d say. I love the way you acknowledged my efforts in putting on Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners each holiday. I smile at the memories of you fighting Joel for my needhams. That made me feel good. I love that we would sometimes gang up on the boys together and make fun of them. I enjoyed our time by the pool together. I am grateful that as the years went by, we did talk, share, laugh, and show affection in the most natural of ways. We talked of books, of family, of the seasons, of the children and pets. And I love your laugh, your chuckle.

I know you are fighting for more special moments with your three children, grandkids, brothers, and your husband, and I am so very sorry that you are going through this. Your fight against cancer has been a noble one. I admire the strength and the grace you have had in this battle. You have taught us all so much throughout the years. Even more perhaps in these last few months, weeks, and days, those which have been your hardest days. Thank you for allowing us to be part of your final days. I can honestly say that despite the pain and the sadness we feel in losing you, it has been beautiful too.

What a fabulous and loving family you have raised. I am so proud to be part of it. Know that I am forever going to respect, protect, honor, and love your son. Know that I will continue to raise our children well. Know that I will watch over your son Joel and your beautiful daughter Lisa and your devoted husband Jerry, and all your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I’ll never let myself forget all that I have learned by knowing you. Thank you for your patience with me through the years, for teaching me patience, grace, humility, and strength through your own being. You are a most remarkable woman. Thank you for being my Mom too.

I love you.


No comments:

Post a Comment