Dear Mom,

It is November, the month of Thanksgiving. I have many happy memories of celebrating with you—the food, the fancy dishes and best silverware, the aromas, the laughter. My heart is always filled with gratitude for those times together.

There is another reason to celebrate this month—on November 20 your youngest sister, my beloved Aunt Helen, will be one hundred years old. That does not seem possible. I remember going to visit my aunt, uncle and cousins as a child. Vases of fresh flowers decorated each room in her home. She had an eye for beautiful, was an incredible painter and seamstress, and made special clothing for my dolls. After you and Dad died, she and Uncle Pete became second parents to Charlie and me, and grandparents to our children. They both adored Fred as well. I don’t know what we would have done without them.

Since Aunt Helen moved from NY to Maine, we have been able to visit more frequently. Although she is no longer very communicative, she always smiles when I talk about you.

Not everything about this month is happy. On November 13, 1978, just four months after Fred and I were married, you called to say that Dad had died. He was only sixty-two and I loved him dearly. Alex reminds me of Dad, and I am grateful for that connection.

There is one more very special celebration this month. Alex turned thirty on November 10. After three miscarriages, I was not sure I would ever have a second child. Then, one year after you died, our precious baby was born. I suspect you helped with that miracle.

Mom, you taught me a very important lesson in life, not through your words, but rather through your actions. You were no stranger to hardship, yet you always looked on the bright side and found myriad reasons to smile. Thank you for your love and for teaching me to give thanks for the blessings in my life.




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