I opened my email today to read these words from a reader, and I knew my mommy was smiling.
Letter below (edited to remove identifying features since it mentions children):
I finished From My Mother this morning and was so very moved by it. How do I begin to thank you for the unselfish gift you have given by sharing your heart-wrenching journey and your precious family especially Jo Lyn and Dustin and Randy. Your family became very real to me and I was lifted up by the incredible strength, humor, honesty and spirit moving through their lives as well as yours. I was 38 when I lost my mom and I cannot imagine being in my teens and mid twenties experiencing what you did. What wisdom you have already gained and what an amazing thing you have done to honor the lives of your brother and your mom by sharing what you learned with others.
I feel blessed that our paths crossed this year at the conference because I could see your face and smile often while I was reading. I had no idea when I left home for the conference, you and your book would be what I’ll remember most about my time in DC. (One of my dearest friends always tells me there are no “coincidences” only “God-incidences” and meeting and talking with you last weekend was one of those times for me.)
As I reached the end of the book this morning still in my pajamas with tears streaming down but a big smile on my face, I realized today is September 20th and your mom’s 5th Heavenly Birthday. I truly love writing to you today knowing I can be a small part of such an important day in your young life. My family will celebrate my mom’s xxth Heavenly Birthday on (month and date) next month, and now my grandkids celebrate along with us. We have worked to help them know Mom through stories and pictures and it thrills me when they ask their questions about her life and imagine her life in Heaven!
I think I told you I did a small writing piece about the day of my mother’s passing while I was teaching middle school, and it was so difficult to do. My respect and admiration for you in writing your book is hard to put into words. I know it was a labor of love — not to mention very fine writing. What a gift for Eli and Hannah one day when the time is right. How proud they will be.
My granddaughter is 7 now and I thought of her often while I was reading. With her mom, my daughter-in-law, having the adult onset and her only brother diagnosed at 4 with congenital DM1, one day I will share your book with her. You have helped and inspired me more than I can express as I try not to worry about what is ahead for her and her brother.
Sending much love to you and all of your family,
a friend made at the MDF conference
May my mother rest in peace and her story help others. Love you, mommy!