Dear Mom



If I could hear from Kayla just one more time, I believe the emptiness in my heart would be filled again.  But, because my wish is impossible, I have created a letter from her written to me.  No; I really don’t know exactly what she would say.  So, I put things in the letter that I would need and want to know. For those that think my imaginary letter is strange, please do not bother reading……………….  A mother’s concern for her children never stops or fades away; even when the child has passed away………………….

Dear Mom,

I know that September 22 is approaching quickly.  And, I realize how difficult it is for you to accept the fact that it’s been almost 2 years since the last time you saw me.  Please know that I am always with you.  But, because you cannot see me with your eyes, I thought maybe you could see me through my words.  Let me begin with how I am doing; there is not a word that can describe how I feel in Heaven.  I am never sad, lonely, angry, hungry, tired or sick.  What a wonderful feeling it is to be set free from sadness, fatigue, stress and, most of all…..cancer.  I know how much you worry, but, please don’t dwell over wondering if I’m okay; I am better than okay.  I am overjoyed, happy and truly at peace in my eternal home.  As much as I miss you, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

All is perfect here in Heaven; colors are more colorful, light is so much brighter and the temperature is always comfortable.  And, the streets are really made of gold!  I wish you could see it for yourself.  And, you will one day.

I spend a lot of my time getting to know my family that passed away before I did.  My great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, and others tell the most interesting and fascinating stories about themselves and family members.  I’ve probably learned the most from Granny including how to sew!!  I just can’t wait for you to meet everyone!  I saw your friend Stacy the other day and she said to tell you “hello.”  Do you remember my 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Lyons?  She passed away several years ago.  I saw her and we had the nicest visit.  What a wonderful teacher she was.  I was so happy to see Uncle Jerry enter the gates of Heaven just a few months ago.  He is so happy and relieved to be released from the chains of cancer.

I can’t believe how much Allison and Ashley have grown.  I’ve noticed how Allison’s hair continues to turn red; it is absolutely beautiful.  She has become a beautiful young lady and I am very proud of her.  I know she always looked to me for guidance and answers as her oldest sister.  Please tell her to not be afraid to take chances.  Encourage her to never give up.  She will achieve her goals and succeed in life.

Ashley is growing up so fast.  She is so smart, funny and beautiful.  She will do wonderful things with her life.  Do you remember when she asked you the other day if you recalled bringing me cookies on the morning of my birthday a few years ago?  I know you don’t remember that day and it really bothered you that you just could not see that day in your mind.  But, Ashley remembers it.  I promise you that she has concrete memories of me.  Please don’t worry; she will never forget me.

Madre……When I look at you, I see so many changes; your pretty red hair has many gray strands now.  I can see more lines on your face, too.  I’m sure this is the result of stress, sadness, grief and time.   There are times when I do see you smile.  But, behind that grin is my mother feeling as if she has a piece of her heart missing and nothing will ever be  the same again.  Well, you are right; things are not the same anymore.  Your life has completely changed.  But, you have a purpose in life due to these changes.  You were always supposed to be our mother and you still have to keep going for Allison and Ashley.  But, you also have another purpose.  And, that is to keep writing.  You started writing a book about my story several months ago.  It is time for you to finish it.  There are people that want and need to read it.  Continue to reach out to the mother’s that have lost a child to cancer.  Do you remember how alone you felt after I passed away?  Everyday there is a mom somewhere that has a child who is healthy one minute and in a blink of an eye loses their battle with cancer the next minute.  End your procrastination today and keep sharing your grief, pain, anger, and sadness.  Encourage them that they will have good days and it’s perfectly fine to be happy.  Please pray for these courageous women, too.  It is up to mom’s like you to speak up and tell the world that the color for childhood cancer is GOLD and NOT PINK!!  There are not nearly enough people that know September is childhood cancer awareness month, as well.  You can do this!  I have a lot of faith in you, Mom.

I know that one of your biggest questions is, “Why?”  We are each born into this world with a certain number of days to live on earth.  Some are only meant to be here for a few moments after they are born.  And, some will live to be over 100-years-old.  But, there are certain people chosen by God Himself to live their lives on earth briefly and for a specific purpose.  That purpose may never be known or understood by their loved ones until they meet again eternally.  Do you remember when a friend once said to you, “There are many answers you have received, but, have not heard?”  You have actually seen some of the answers about my passing for yourself, but, you simply choose not to acknowledge them.  Please open your eyes and listen carefully and you will begin to understand and see what blessings have come from my death.  I can tell you for sure that God called me home on September 22, 2010 for very specific reasons.  I know you beat yourself up for some poor decision making in your life.  But, in no way whatsoever was my death a punishment to you.  I understand that it feels like that, but, please trust me when I tell you that it was all part of God’s plan.  There have been many blessings that are a result of my passing.  Ultimately, all of the reasons will be revealed when we meet again in Heaven.

I love you, Madre……I’ll be waiting for you when it’s your time to come home…….

I am the orange butterfly that visits you……..

I am the penny Nana always finds on the street…….

I am the cool breeze that you suddenly feel on a warm day……..

 I am the rain that appears on a sunny day…………..

 I am the redheaded girl that seems to appear out of nowhere when you are having a bad day of missing me…….

 It is really me when you hear certain songs on the radio…….

And, when you look at the clock at that specific time of day that you told me about in the hospital, it is really me reminding you that I love you, too…………………..

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About MomMinus1

Welcome to my blog, momminus1 (mom minus one). I am a mother of three beautiful girls, Kayla 17, Allison 13 and Ashley 5. One of my daughters recently became an angel; Kayla passed away on September 22, 2010 due to complications from AML leukemia. She was diagnosed on July 3, 2010. She endured harsh chemotherapy treatments, hair loss, rare and painful skin disorders, horrible stomach infections, weakness, loss of appetite, depression, anxiety and fear. From the time she was diagnosed until the day she died it was just 81 days..... A short, but, horrific battle with cancer. I am always asked, "How are you doing? What can I do for you? How are your two girls doing?" At times, these are tough questions to answer. And, I express myself best when I write. Writing is so helpful and therapeutic for me. Maybe I can answer these questions for those that are concerned about us. Maybe I can help another mom that might wake up tomorrow and find out that their child is diagnosed with cancer. Maybe there is a mom somewhere, like me, that just lost a child to cancer and is searching the web for answers. She might be thinking, "Is there anyone out there that understands what I'm going through?" I understand. I am grieving. I am in pain. I have a big piece of my heart that is now gone.....I would love your feedback about my blog, too. Thanks for reading!
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40 Responses to Dear Mom

  1. judy says:

    amber, i am sitting here with tears running down my face. i dont know when something has touched me so strongly. you are a wonderful writer and can express your feelings so well. i think about her often and wonder what she and granny are doing, now i know they are sewing!!!!! i love you and are praying for peace for you and the girls during this time. i love you!!

  2. Amber, that was absolutely beautiful! I don’t question for a moment that your dear Kayla speaks to you and sends you signs. I know because my Douglas is sending them to us. Thank you for your beautiful and comforting words. Your daughter is correct. You have a gift and I thank you for sharing it.

  3. Darlene Sanner says:

    So very beautiful, I really feel like I just read that letter straight from Kayla’s heart, and we know, nobody knows their daughter better than her mommy. Amazing and inspiring, I needed that to lift me up and remind me, I miss Alexa so bad, next month is her 2nd b day. I know the wait for Heaven is worth it, Thanks for sharing.

    • MomMinus1 says:

      Darlene…..You always say the nicest and most uplifting comments about my blog. Thank you so very much for reading it and completely understanding. I’ll be thinking of you as Alexa’s 2nd birthday arrives. We will see our girls again!!!!

  4. Marianne Volpert says:

    The spirit of those we love is as close to us as we need it. We just must be open and you are doing a great job of that.

  5. Cindy says:

    The most beautiful written piece I’ve ever read… no doubt this is God-inspired. You definitely need to write the book. I love you. So blessed to be your big sis. Cindy

  6. Janell Sponburgh says:

    Amber that is a beautiful picture of you and your girls!! Very touching letter!

  7. Cori sabate says:

    This was amazing and very powerful 🙂

  8. charlotte martin says:

    Judy told me about your new blog and to be prepared for a touching, beautiful letter….and it is!
    I am so proud of you and love you so much for being our wonderful daughter!

  9. Susan B says:

    Reblogged this on Head in my Hands and commented:
    A letter postmarked “Heaven” by a child to her mother. Beautiful.

  10. Susan B says:

    Amber, once again I’m amazed by your thoughts and the talent you have for writing. I’ve reblogged this post.

  11. Powerful and heartfelt. Sorry for your loss.

  12. Peter Wiebe says:

    What a beautiful letter. I am deeply moved. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  13. Cyndi Amerson says:

    Oh yes, the letter is from Kayla, no doubt! The picture of y’all on the tracks is beautiful and the one with all of your hands holding the picture, just awesome! I have faith that your book will be completed and will help many! I am so touched that Kayla has seen Staci in Heaven, I truly believe it.

    • MomMinus1 says:

      Thanks, Cyndi! You are too sweet to me 🙂 The girl that took our pics is just 17 and still in high school. She has been blessed with the gift of photography. We had the idea of holding Kayla’s pic and she created the settings. Thanks for reading, too!!

  14. I just came across your blog tonight. My 23 year old son died 17 weeks ago and I’ve been searching online for blogs and websites for bereaved parents. I’ve been putting all the sites into one place http://www.scoop.it/t/grief-and-loss and I’ve added your blog.
    I’m so sorry about Kayla. I wish our kids were still here where they belong.

    • MomMinus1 says:

      Graham’s mom…..Thank you so much for writing. And, for posting my blog on your website. I read through many of the blogs that were on the site and I can so relate to just about all of them. I am so sorry about the loss of your son. As you probably know, there isn’t anything anyone can say or do to lessen your pain and grief. But, letting other mom’s like us know that they are not alone somehow helps us to get through the pain and grief. I appreciate your website so much and look forward to reading more.

  15. krystal says:

    You are an amazing person Amber, and I am truly blessed to be able to call you my friend, my sister!
    You are an inspiration to more people than you know. There’s nothing I can tell you that you don’t already know, but do know this…… I LOVE you!
    Keep moving in a forward direction, but moving knowing Kayla is right beside you….. EVERY step of your journey!
    Remain strong my friend, for we never walk alone!

  16. April says:

    I never knew Kayla personally, but after reading this I see what a beautiful person she is. I cried reading your blog and realized that I have to stop being so hard with our children and start allowing them to live there lifes more. Our lives are so precious! Thanks for writing such inspirational words. It really touched and changed my life!

  17. Kim Duffy says:

    I just ran across your blog when searching for online support of parents who have lost children to cancer. I am a firm believer that God puts people in our path who can help us and/or who we can help. I have goosebumps as I read your recent post as I just lost my 12 year old daughter, Cecelia, to AML on August 22, 2012. We just had her memorial on Sept. 22, 2012 and she was born on Dec. 22, 1999. I read that you lost your sweet girl 2 years ago on Sept. 22. I do not have a blog but am on facebook under Kimberly Gates Duffy. I am desperately searching for other moms who can help me learn how to move forward with my life.

    • MomMinus1 says:

      Kim…..Thank you so much for getting in touch with me. I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter, Cecelia. I completely understand the pain and grief you are enduring at this moment. I am here anytime you would like to chat. I know there isn’t anything anyone can say or do to help you through this agony. But, hopefully, you will find some kind of comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Unfortunately, there are entirely too many mother’s just like us that have lost a child to cancer. If you read through some of the blogs that I follow, which are located on the right side of my home page, you will find other blogs written by mom’s that have been where you and I are. Thank you for sharing all of the dates with me that were on the 22nd. Kayla was a Christmas baby, too; Dec. 24, 1992. And, I also believe God puts other’s in your path, life, etc. for specific reasons. I hope I can help you someway. Please feel free to contact me anytime. You will be in my prayers.

      • SadMama says:

        I’m so very sorry for your loss, Kim. My son died suddenly 18 weeks ago and we are struggling every minute.

        I’ve put together a site for bereaved parents: http://www.scoop.it/t/grief-and-loss.

        Many of the blogs are by parents who lost their children to cancer. However, no matter the cause of the loss, the pain we all have is devastating and you’ll find you are not alone in this nightmare of a journey.

      • Kim Duffy says:

        Thank you ladies. I have been reading some of the other blogs and find there are some really amazing writers out there. I feel like it would be therapeutic to start my own blog/journaling to help me process all these feelings inside but wouldn’t even know where to begin. It’s all so fresh right now, I’m overwhelmed.

      • Kim Duffy says:

        I just have to tell you that I went on and read your caring bridge posts. I felt like I was reading my own caring bridge journal entries during the last 2 months of Cecelia’s life. It just breaks my heart at what these girls had to endure. If you would like to read about Celia’s journey, I wrote it below.

    • Irma says:

      I lost my precious daughter Sydney on August 19, 2012 from leukemia (ALL). She was born on Dec. 8, 1998. She was 13 yrs old. I am also searching on how to take steps to begin healing. It is so hard. I miss my precious daughter so, so much.l
      I am so sorry for your loss. Both of our daughters were so young.
      They are in heaven with GOD.

      • Kim Duffy says:

        So sorry to hear about your daughter, Irma. I pray a cure will be found for childhood cancer in general as well as specifically leukemia. It was devastating to lose my youngest daughter. I am finding some healing in a weekly grief support group I attend as well as individual counseling. Feel free to message me if you need to chat.

  18. Kim Duffy says:

    I’m not sure if the link shows up where you can see it. If not it is: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/ceceliaduffy

    • MomMinus1 says:

      Kim…..I just read your caringbridge journal. Thank you so much for sharing it with me. I really took some time to look at the beautiful pictures of Cecelia. She reminds me so much of Kayla. I know you miss her so much. It’s been 2 years since Kayla died and it is still so very painful. I think we will always have this pain from now on. I’ll be here to support you in any way I can. I’d really like to talk to you sometime about her AML diagnosis and what you think may have caused it. I’m constantly trying to figure out what could have happened. Please feel free to contact me anytime.

  19. NURY GIRON says:

    MY SON DIED 8 MONTHS AGO DUE TO TESTICULAR CANCER, I FIND MYSELF WHAT IS THE POINT OF LIVING, WHEN THE PERSON THAT WAS YOUR BEST FRIEND IS NO LONGER HERE, I CRIED EVERYDAY. I HAVE TWO OTHER KIDS, AND BECAUSE OF THEM I AM STILL HERE, IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO DEAL WITH LIFE AFTER DEATH.

    • MomMinus1 says:

      Thank you for writing. I completely understand your pain. There is nothing like the pain and grief of losing a child. I have 2 other children, as well. I know that they count on me to get up and take care of them everyday. So, I find my strength through them. I will be praying for you as you are hurting and grieving. I know you miss your son so much. Please contact me anytime if you need someone to talk to.

      • Kim says:

        Cancer took my daughters life but I will not let it decrease the quality of life of my other two children. I must get up each day and move forward so their lives are not destroyed by this awful disease. We are grieving each and every day for we miss Cecelia terribly but know one day we will see her again. It doesn’t make it easy but it is a tiny bit easier.

      • nury giron says:

        thank you for your kind words, now i know there is also someone out there we the same pain. may god bless you..nury

  20. Lauren munger says:

    Wow! That was the most beautiful letter I have ever read. I never met your beautiful daughter, but could hear her voice when I was reading this. My daughter also had AML Leukemia and is now in remission. I did not lose my daughter, but I know how cancer can shake every aspect of your life to its core. With that being said, I have to applaud your bravery and courage. Your blog is beautiful and I couldn’t think of a more perfect letter your daughter could have written you. God has a his hand on your family and your daughter is right 🙂 I spent a lot of time reading the book of Isiah… One of my favorite versus talks about being still before the Lord. I think that is what Kayla is telling you… Be still and Our Heavenly Father will guide you and provide you with the answers you need to renew your strength. There is something powerful and special that happenswhen we can allow God to show us the beauty within in our own tragedies. Your letter is a perfect example, it’s something I think every grieving mother should read and do, it was absolutely beautiful and perfect in everyway. Thank you for sharing that 🙂 may God Bless you and your family..

    Many hugs,
    Lauren munger

    • MomMinus1 says:

      Dear Lauren….Thank you so much for your meaningful comments. But, I want to also thank you for reading my blog. When Kayla was sick with AML, the last thing I wanted to do was read anything about a mom losing her child to this horrific illness. I really appreciate you taking the time to read about Kayla and seeing who she really was. Thank you for reminding me of the book of Isaiah. I believe you are right….the bible does say to be still for the Lord; when I am running around trying to figure things out on my own, I usually fail. Putting everything in God’s hands, including my grief and pain, is exactly what I should always do…..I am so glad to know that your daughter is in remission. I hope and pray that she continues to do well. You and your daughter will be in my prayers.

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