I wish I could say Thank You and tell you exactly why I am expressing gratitude with my new found understanding. I can now grasp how fiercely you loved me and the sacrifices you made - giving up yourself for the role of taking care of me and my brother.
My heart clenches when the love for my son collides with the memories of you, Mom. His guileless smiling face with smartly raised eyebrows - daring me to come and smooch all over him - allow me to have a glimpse of what looking thru your eyes at my face may have felt like... and I want to hug you so desperately in that moment. I want to apologize for not trying harder, for not fighting enough for you. You fought for me, you caught my puke, you let me sleep in bed next to you when I was afraid in the middle of the night. You cheered for me at softball games, riding lessons, band concerts, and tennis matches. You sat me on the floor and piled puppies in my lap. I don't remember it but I'm sure you wiped my bum a million times. You talked to me, you loved my boyfriend - fiance - and now husband. You were the first person I wanted to share any achievement with because I knew just how proud you'd be. I know you told your friends about everything I did. I know you loved me. No matter the situation, even near the end when it was very hard for you, you still made sure to tell me that "I love you more than anything in the world." I wish I understood the gravity of those words and what they meant and every little action behind them.
I don't think any person understands what their mother feels and sees until they become a mother. It was easy to accept your love and care and take it all for granted without considering the depth and sacrifice. I knew you as mom, that was your "job" to be mom... I didn't know you as Rita. I regret that now, I regret the conversations we could have shared. I yearn for my son's granny. He sees you in pictures and he'll hear you in stories when he gets a bit older. You would have given him the moon and every treat his little eyes lighted upon. You would have seen "God's Exclamation Point" in his red hair and believed in miracles then.
I regret my hesitation to share the details of our adoption journey with you. We, you and I, were stuck, focused on your adoption. Your story was different and heartbreaking and more than any child should endure. Yet, I assume you resolved to be a better mother because of that. And you were - you were an excellent mama. If you had known how close we were to adopting, would if have made a difference? There's no way to know, and events fell in to place in a timing that could only be described as divine. I try to give all that to God and not "what-if" myself too much.
God gave me my son so that I could withstand losing you to your battle with your demons. I am certain He saved me that way. I tell my son every night - "I love you more than anything in the world" - and that helps me remember you, mama. I'm sending yellow roses to heaven.