Dear Mama,
Today is the anniversary of your death. We have traveled through four decades on life’s ocean without you. We’ve wished you were sailing with us—noticing the scenes of wonder, smiling in awe, enduring the fierce storms, keeping us calm, listening to the sounds at sea, grasping hope in each season, gazing at the sun and moon and clouds and stars and planets, walking on the sand when the vessel came ashore.   

But we’ve tracked these seasons only seeing your smile through memories and stories and pictures. No live face-to-face conversations. No grins when we thought the same thoughts. No prayers together. No meals cooked for us while you sang your songs.

I’m sad we’ve had none of that.

I’m thankful, though. Forty years after we said goodbye, I’m grateful for my nineteen years with you. I cherish those times. You taught me to love. To listen. To truly be present. To find positives—even when life’s unpredictable currents and dangerous waves caused us to fear the water.

You didn’t deny danger. You talked about it. You sang in the depths of it. You prayed your way through it. All while wrestling your own wars. All while encouraging other passengers on this excursion at sea. All while navigating gently, calmly, peacefully.

Well, we continue sailing without you. Remembering you, imagining you, and still learning from you, we miss you. We are thankful for the time we did have.

Forty years later, we’re drifting on. Forty years later, we’re wishing you were here.

I love you,