Saturday, December 7, 2013

Letter to my Mom on (what would have been) her 93rd Birthday

Happy Birthday Mom!
 It has been four years since you have been gone and it seems like just yesterday. I suppose I don't need to tell you how much I miss you! There have been so many times that I have some bit of news to tell you and for a instant I think about calling you. I think my drive home from work is the hardest, because that was when I would call just to check in.

There has been so many things that have happened since you left. First, did you know your "mijo's" have really been playing some excellent football? Dad was able to see some good games last year, but this year they were on a terror as well. Although they did not come in first in the Pac 12 South, we did beat USC in good fashion. Even I had some doubts before the game because SC had just come off a huge upset when they beat Stanford. We were on a 2 game losing streak and playing in the Coliseum. The cards were stacked against us, but we prevailed. And as always Mom, there were people in our family that seemed to take it a bit too personal. After all those Christmas's when USC was a powerhouse and "certain" family members would tease and torture you. Showing up to your house and making fun at the bowls UCLA was invited to. Who is laughing now, right Mom?  Funny how you were right about "them". Dad came to see that as well and one day he admitted that you had been right all along. He had not seen it before and sadly he came to find out on his own.

But  I can see you now shrugging your shoulders and saying "Oh well, what are you gonna do?". Just a silly game. And I was very proud of you that in the end you were a good sport by accepting Steve's invitation to watch the SC game at his house. That is showing you can be the bigger person and showing all of us that family comes first. Oh Mom,  you would be loving the team right now and loving Coach Mora. Finally we've got our Donahue back!!

Speaking of family, there have been some additions since you left. I believe Aiden was born the month following your passing. Then there's Miles. You would love Miles. I don't get to see him too often, in fact I think I have only seen him twice. But Jesse does a great job of posting pictures on Facebook and so I feel as if I am watching him grow up. Kristen has also had two more added to her small brew and so that would have made you a Great Great Grandma five times!  Mom, you should see Lorraine's boys. Andrew is playing varsity football at St. Paul. Camy is an excellent athlete of his own but he is still quite young. I love watching Camy play baseball. You can see how focused he gets. Love it! Gentry finished college and she is teaching children with special needs and Jeremy graduated from the firefighters academy. He wants to finish school before he joins any department but he is doing some volunteer work with a couple of local stations. Sidney has become an excellent soccer player and she is a wonderful little artist. And that Dylan of Tim & Debbie's is so smart. Both he and Noah are characters. Tim and Deb say that Dylan isn't focused on school, but I think he is just bored and is actually a lot more intelligent than they know! Some kids just learn differently. Same story with Steve's little one Jack. He hates school but he is no dummy. I think for most the part, all of your great grand kids are bright all in their own way.

Our family has not been the same since both you and Dad left. I think Dad was the last thread barely keeping us together! I try to stay in touch with some of my nieces and nephews and I've been in touch with all of my brothers. Ray had cancer and I believe he is done with his treatments. I have not seen him since his surgery but I have been getting glowing reports. I think he is going to beat it. I hear he is an excellent patient and follows his doctors orders to a "tee". And Joe is living in China. I can hear you now "Why would he want to live there?".  But you know Joe, never lets an opportunity slip away. I know he wishes you could have come to visit him in China. And Eric has been dating a lovely young lady. Everyone likes her and she has an adorable little boy named Roman. You would love him. She is a good Mommy and I know you would have noticed that right away. I remember the compliments you would give Debbie and Corrine about what good little Mommy's they were. And Kyle is still at the Sheriff's Department and he moonlights as a DJ. He loves it and seems pretty good at it. You would be pleased.

But it seems Mom you were the glue that kept us together. I understand this happens to a lot of families. It is a shame. But I promise to do the best I can to stay in touch with some of the kids. I also see my cousin Gloria from time to time. When I was not working I would drive out to her place and we went to the movies, lunch and even did some gambling. Shocking I know. I never thought I would be estranged from my own sisters. But I suppose it happens. I can only take care of myself and my family now and any extended family that wants to have a relationship with me. I'm sure you would agree.

Aw Mom, I miss you so much. I had no idea it would be like this when you left. I promised myself I would do my best to remember the things you and Dad stood for and to try and keep your legacy alive. Times are different now but I do try my best. Last Thanksgiving I was thinking about you and how you'd cook for the whole family (of course the girls would all bring the sides!). But I do not ever remember you complaining about it. It seemed like it was just accepted as part of your job. Of course, as you got older and your children started having Thanksgiving dinners of their own, you did not mind when we went out for dinner on Thanksgiving or even went to Puerto Vallarta!

I won't even get into the political mess our country is in. However, you would have a field day with the crazy right wingers. There have been multiple shooting incidents around the country and there is this huge gun debate going on right now. The country is very divided. I am not sure where this country is headed but so far it looks like it is hell in a hand basket. I have not lost hope that we can turn it around. There is so much junk and trash out there now. Kids are not raised to respect others, there is so much entitlement out there and the things that young people value is sad to see. But I have not lost hope and I know all I can do is do my best to help others. I haven't forgotten how much you would help the poor. As feisty as you were you always had a soft spot for the poor.

Has Dad found you? I believe he had a tough time passing over. I just think he was not ready and felt he still had "stuff" to take care of. But I know you are happy and I appreciate your visits to me. I have heard your words and I try to keep them close in my heart. I am waiting for Dad to visit so I will know he is at peace. I did see the hawk that flew over my head on the day he passed away and I know that was him. Strange coincidence, my friend Aileen gave birth to a little girl the same day Dad passed away. Isn't that awesome? Give my Dad a hug for me.

 I know you are with me and I can feel you sometimes. Most of the time it is when I am cooking. But I also see you in other places.Especially when I wear the gloves you gave to me. How did you know I would need them so badly now!  I also pay homage to you when I am taking care of my little garden. I still have one of your plants! I almost lost it but was able to bring it back to life. I am just waiting for a bloom to come but it has been four years now!

Happy Birthday Mom. I know your life's journey was not easy but I know you are at peace now and have found the love you wanted for so long.