Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Letter To My Beautiful Mom

By LORRAINE V. MURRAY, Commentary | Published May 10, 2012

Dear Mommy:

Mother’s Day is nearly here, and you know what that means. Yes, just like in the past, I’ll be glancing at the greeting cards and imagining which one I would buy you.

On the big day itself, I will gaze longingly at the women in church who are there with their moms and even their grandmas. Some of these special ladies will have corsages pinned to their dresses, and they’ll embrace each other during the sign of peace.

When you died, I thought I wouldn’t survive the shattering pain. It seemed that everywhere I went, at some point I would turn to tell you something in a crowd—or I’d automatically pick up the phone to share a funny story with you.

And then it would hit me: Those days are over. I will never again be someone’s daughter—at least not in this earthly realm.

Although you’ve been gone over 30 years, I still feel your presence each day. Gazing in the mirror and seeing my chocolate-brown eyes, I think of you. Getting my hair cut, I remember all the times you lamented over your straight, fine hair, which is exactly what I do now.

I have so many mental snapshots to cherish: You vacuuming the house with me trailing behind and playing my favorite game, which was asking, over and over, “Do you love me?”

You getting so annoyed by the constant bickering of two toddlers that you dramatically packed a bag, got in the car—and drove around the block. We got the picture.

You shopping with my sister and me in downtown Miami, stopping at Woolworth’s to eat greasy corndogs and sip sugary drinks, while we outlined our next diet plan.

You always cheered me on. When I despaired of ever meeting Prince Charming, you assured me there was someone out there just for me. When I was certain I would flunk out of college because of that blasted physical science course, you told me not to give up.

When I dream of you, you are either in the kitchen adding seasoning to the pasta sauce—which, of course, we called “gravy”—or you’re at the beach bobbing in the water. Remember how we all kidded you about the old navy-blue bathing suit with the pleated skirt? You still show up wearing it in my dreams!

All these years later, I cherish the faith that you taught me. When I pick up my rosary beads, I remember seeing them entwined in your hands at Mass. When I say the blessing before meals, I recall saying it with the family at home, whether the meal was manicotti or meat loaf.

You taught me the importance of praying for relatives who had died. As a little child, I took that notion so seriously that I had prayer cards with notes on the back that said: “Pray for Flat-top and Wormy”—my pet turtles.

On my dresser there’s a photo showing the two of us on my First Communion Day. There I am, all decked out in my frilly white dress and veil, glancing shyly at the camera.

And there you are, young and radiant in a fine dark suit, wearing a hat and carrying gloves, and with a lovely orchid corsage pinned to your bodice.

At Mass when we proclaim a belief in the resurrection of the body, I pray that someday we will meet again in heaven. I know that with God all things are possible, and I’m holding that thought in my heart.

And who knows? If God grants me that prayer, perhaps we’ll find a place in heaven to go shopping. Afterwards we’ll stop at the five-and-dime to splurge on something fattening and fried for lunch. Until then, Happy Mother’s day to my beautiful mom!