To my second mom, Ruth Lee, formerly of Ideal Ave., Waynedale
I don’t know how to start this letter, or how, exactly, to say what is in my heart, so please forgive my rambling disconnected thoughts, and listen only to my heart.
All the way back to Louisville, my mind was filled with thoughts of you. It was like my mind reeling back over the years and over the meaningful and precious times we have had. Until I said good-bye to you in the hospital, I realized I had never told you I loved you. I had never kissed your face, and I had never held your hand. I thank God for giving me this chance, and also, to tell you these things on my mind while there is still time for us.
You were, and are, my second mother. I hardly remember life without you. I think back, and remember that you always looked at me with the same look as you did in the hospital. A bit of a grin and a lot of wisdom, love and acceptance. You were so much of my childhood, and I think you may have been the only other mother who totally accepted me without criticism or question. But from you, there was trust. I hope I never let you down on that trust, although I do remember running Dad’s Buick up to 100 miles an hour with all the girls in the car, including Nancy. Now I look back on that and hope my kids and grandkids have more sense.
I got to thinking about your courage and how it permeated every aspect of your life and how much that courage was, and is, a gift to us. The teaching, not by speaking, but by example, of how to survive the tough times, and to never give up trying. I can’t imagine being widowed, not once, but twice, and carrying on the family with strength and determination that I know came from within. Surely there were times you had to have been uncertain and afraid. But you never showed it to us. You seemed fortified with strength. You are still the same, even in these desperate circumstances. As I sat beside your hospital bed, I knew if you could get up and do the Mexican Hat Dance you would, but that the circumstances of life prevented this. But don’t even think for a minute that I missed the twinkle in your eyes, the sweet smile, and the fortitude that has always been there. I left in awe that you can be knocked down, but are still in the game. No one would guess that you are in your 9th decade of life.
I know that you could be like a thousand patients I have known who lie in bed and feel sorry for themselves, and many with good reason. You are not one of them. You needed things within reach, so that you would not have to call for help. Not even now, and in these circumstances, do you want to “trouble” anyone. I also noticed that you did not have criticism for anyone, even though it was obvious to me you could have had complained, if you had so chosen.
How can I put a lifetime of thoughts and love into one short letter? How can I tell you how much you mean to me? How can I tell you how much you have taught me? How did the years rush by so quickly?
I do not know what the future holds, that is, whether you will be able to walk again, or whether you will survive this cruel blow to your body. But I do know this…you are so, so special, and I will take with me the gifts you have given me. They are priceless intangible gifts that will live on, and for me to pass on. And I guess in that way you are immortal, for all whom you have touched have taken a part of you into themselves. And all these gifts of love were freely given, expecting nothing in return.
Your legacy of kindness, goodness, honesty and love will live forever in the successive generations, and all who have been touched by you have been truly blessed. I am so grateful that one of those is me.
I love you,
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