It’s been three years since your passing. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about you. On occasion, I pick up the phone to call you and hear your voice while I am bustling around the house. We spent endless hours chatting while I was cleaning the house. You loved a clean house and instilled that in all of us.

I think of you whenever I see a yellow butterfly or a cardinal. I know those are signs from you that you are with me.

I wish you were around to see the kids and to laugh at how your wish came true: “I hope you have two of them just like you.” You would be surprised to see that I have four kids, and that I have yet to lose one.

I finally took the time to learn how to cook. The smoke detector hasn’t gone off in ages!

I wish I was there for you more when you were alive. I wish I took more time to visit you and send you more notes in the mail to let you know how much I love you and that you matter. I wish I spent less time being angry at you and more time loving you and extending grace to you. The truth is we are all broken people, living in a broken world. I wish the world would have given you a few more breaks, a chance to get your head above water.

I love that my childhood friends all remember you as the fun, cool mom with the great sense of humor. They have such fond memories of you. Most of them had no idea that you had an addiction–that makes me happy. You were a beautiful soul being tortured by a cruel world.

Man, did we have some rough years. Years where you needed me to be more than I was, but I was fighting my own battles. I couldn’t get past myself to see your needs. I want you to know that I take the time now. I take the time to see people for who they are, not their circumstances, not their lifestyle, but who they are deep down inside. You were so consumed by guilt and shame. The devil does that to us. He convinces us that we are nothing more than our worst decision on our darkest day. But I know that God sees a beautiful, blameless soul bathed in light. I will spend all of my days trying to get people to realize that they are worthy, they are forgiven, that the days of glory are coming and they get to be a part of it.

I am thankful that God taught me about true love and forgiveness while you were still here on earth. I was able to make amends with you. I am thankful that you remembered the good times and being a good mother. I am thankful that we had many conversations that were drenched in grace. I am glad that the last coherent conversation we had we were making plans to be together.

I am thankful that God took you when he did. Though I would pay a million dollars to hear your voice one more time and wrap my arms around you, I know that you are no longer in pain. There is no suffering where you are. I picture you basking in the sunlight on a grassy knoll. You are so peaceful and the joy in your heart pours out through your smile.

Thank you for doing the best you could with what you had. You are a true warrior. I love you.

~ Melissa