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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hi Mom,

How are you? I don’t think I’ve written since October 3, 1998. That’s the day you left us. People say we should just use the word died, and not use substitutes. They say that when we avoid the word, we don’t face up to death. I disagree. I just don’t like the word. The substitutes are fine. No matter how you talk about it, it’s with you all the time.

Anyway, I wanted to write you this letter on Mother’s Day, sixteen and a half years after you left. I remember Emily was seven months old on October 3. I was happy you were able to hold her, when we visited Des Moines for your forty-fifth wedding anniversary. I think of that picture of you holding Emily in your lap, on the living room sofa. Her vigor at three months filled the room.

Now you have three grandchildren, and a great-grandson. One of your grandchildren, Rob, took this picture on Mother’s Day:

Mother's Day

Will was so lucky to get to celebrate Mother’s Day with both his grandmas, two of the best moms I know!

I was going to tell you about Rob, Jess, Will, Emily and Willem tonight, but I’ve run out of time. I was able to spend some time outdoors this afternoon, but it’s never enough! That’s where I feel God’s peace, outdoors. I expect you feel it all the time. I’m happy about that.

Anyway, just as the afternoon ran out on me before I finished paddling, the evening has run out on me before I finished writing this letter. I can finish it another time, right? That’s what you always told me, when I worked so hard as a young man. “You can do it another day.” You didn’t put it exactly that way, but I know you didn’t like to see me overwork myself.

I also wanted to tell you about a vision Dad had as he approached death four years ago. He saw you in a yellow dress, waving goodbye from a wharf in Rotterdam. It occurs to me that you may have waved a greeting as Dad’s ship arrived at the wharf, but I think it was a departure. I think as the ship pulled away, both of you knew you wanted to spend your lives together.

That’s enough for this Mother’s Day. I hope you are happy. Will is something.