Thursday, December 18, 2008


If my mom was still alive today would be her 74th birthday and my parents’ 57th wedding anniversary. In a conversation Susanne and I had last week she said that since she was so young when her Grandfather Beem passed away—twelve, I think—she cannot recall his voice. She has memories of him, for sure, but even those are limited. Yet since she was an adult when my mom passed away 14 years ago she can recall many things, including the sound of her voice, the way she answered the phone, her ability to recall recipes off the top of her head, and her constant encouragement.

I was reflecting on that just now, and it brings up the sadness I feel that our daughter will never get to know her Grandma Roberts (that’s also true for her cousin Kirsten, who was an infant when Mom passed away). Now Linnea is not hurting for attention, mind you. For better or worse she is pretty much the center of the universe when we’re in Kansas with our families. She gets all kinds of attention, not the least of which is from her Grandma Beem, whom she adores. Still, she will miss out because my mother was a really great woman. She loved her grandchildren and would have loved Linnea, too. And Linnea would have loved her. Mom would have loved Linnea’s spunk, her love of laughter, and her developing ability to say hilarious things. (Of course, I am her not so objective father. Linnea could call the dog to her food dish and I would think it was beautiful). Linnea would have loved Mom’s zest for life, and her knack—unforced—for finding joy in so much of life, even in, maybe especially in, the hard times.

My Grandmother Holm passed away not long after Mom and Dad were married, so my siblings and I never got to know her. Sometimes Mom would talk about her mother and I would feel the ache of really wishing she was still around so I could know her. I feel that now as I write about Linnea missing out on knowing my mother. She knows my father, and I am so glad for that. He and Mom were a great match: two very good people, and I am grateful for them.

Fifty-seven years, how incredible that would be! Instead, Mom died a few months before their 43rd anniversary. The acute pain that I felt when she first died is gone, but the ache of the loss is so much deeper now. A couple of days before Mom’s death Susanne and I visited her in the hospital, and she reassured us during that visit that she knew Susanne and I would get to have children, something we weren’t feeling so confident of anymore. It took eleven more years, but Mom was right. And I wish the precious gift God gave us could know the precious gift that was my mother.