I started to write you today and let you know that I just put on a t-shirt that I haven’t been able to wear in a long time. Then I remembered that you’re not there. At least not where I can send you an e-mail. You’re not on the other end of the phone anymore. But I think about you so much. Especially in times like this, when you were the first person in the world I wanted to reach out to with these little tidbits of news. Probably news that only a mother could care about. You’re still the first person I want to tell when anything good happens. Only now, I can’t.
I’ve lost a good bit of weight, Mama. I have a long way to go, sure. But I’m on my way. I know how much you worried about me and how overweight I had become. You told me so often that you wished you could be thin just once in your life. That stuck with me. I know that I have to get a hold of this now before I get too old and its just too hard. You are my example. And while I’m happy to be able to wear this shirt again, I just wish I could pick up the phone and hear your voice one more time. I can hear you in my heart, saying “That’s wonderful!”
But it’s just not the same.
This shirt is one that I always thought was funny, because it summed up you and I so well. It’s a scraggily design with a skull wearing a cowboy hat above crossed pistols, and below it says “Mama Tried”. Bless your heart, Mama, you certainly did try. I was no walk in the park. I was stubborn. Opinionated. Outspoken. But to your credit, while you gave me plenty of room to be myself and grow into my own person, I was never a misfit or a troublemaker. And I always respected people. Especially the elderly. Whatever transgressions some folks might like to think they can lie at my feet because they really don’t know who I am, in my heart I still feel that kindness and wondrous spirit that I got from you. I never doubt who I am or what I am, and I am at peace that you were proud of me. Whatever harm I might cause in the world, it’s by accident, because I am a reflection of you and I am full of love, even if I am quick-tempered and sometimes argumentative.
As I sit here with tears rolling down my face, feeling so keenly your absence, I am so very thankful that you were my mother. No one could ever ask for a better example of what a person should be than you, Mama. And no one else that I’ve ever known has lived their principles with as much steadfastness and conviction. I only wish you could have known what an inspiration you were to everyone who knew you. Especially, I wish you could have known what an inspiration you were to me. I never failed to let you know that I loved you. But I don’t know that I ever let you know how very proud I am to have been your son. Or, at least, I don’t think I said it enough.
Thank you, Mama, for trying so hard to make me into a good man. For the most part, I think you succeeded. Perhaps admirably so, considering how willful and stubborn I always was. Any failure of character that might be found in me is my fault entirely. God knows, Mama. You tried. Thank you for providing to me an example of what I should aspire to be, so that even if I fall short of being the wonderful person you were, maybe I won’t turn out so bad. And I’ll always know in my heart what a truly wonderful person is, because I knew one. You. It was my honor and privilege just to know you. To have you as my mother was gift from God which I truly did not deserve, but for which I am eternally grateful.
I love you, Mama. I always think of you. I always miss you. And I will always be your loving son.