Jack and Harper,
This afternoon, after a very courageous battle, your Mimi slipped the bonds of this earth and went home to be with Jesus.
I know that at 22 months old you will not remember her, but you will know of your Mimi through our stories and pictures we have of the three of you together. You will grow to have a deeper relationship with your Mimi as you get bigger, but, sadly, that relationship will be with her precious memories and not with your Mimi as I knew her.
So, I wanted to sit down tonight and I wanted to write you this letter so you will understand more about this wonderful woman that we all will miss so much. When you’re old enough to read this, I hope you will revisit this letter often and notice something new each time, something that will help keep your Mimi close to your heart always.
The first thing I want you to know about your Mimi is that she loved to laugh. She loved to laugh until she laughed too much and snorted- just a little bit- and that would make her laugh even harder. She loved to laugh with her family; she especially loved to laugh at your dad’s silly jokes, and roll her eyes at what a “dork” your dad was being. Your daddy and your Mimi shared the same sense of humor. When your daddy makes you laugh, you can thank your Mimi for encouraging him to be funny. Mimi also loved to tease us- that is how you knew that she really liked you. If she would tease you and laugh, you knew you were in. Jack and Harper, she teased you both, and she would sing silly songs to you, and she loved to make you laugh, especially those deep belly laughs. As often as she saw you, she would find something to laugh about, and even the last time I saw Mimi, I was telling her stories about you two and she nodded her head and huffed- a little last laugh from your Mimi who loved to smile and laugh with you.
I want you to know that your Mimi was generous. She wasn’t a person who liked to brag about herself or things she had done, but she did some extraordinary things for her family. She moved at least six times to support your Papa in his career; she skillfully raised three beautiful children, volunteered at schools, served on PTAs, was room mom many times over, chaperoned field trips, stood outside in the cold to watch marching contests, baseball games, football games, soccer, and lacrosse. She was a dance mom (without the drama), a chauffer, a cook, a maid, a confidant, a best friend- a mom. Then, when her grandchildren came along, she generously gave of herself to help them in anyway possible. She made frequent trips to Chicago to see the Sloma kids- sometimes staying for months at a time. She was at the hospital when Emmy was born, anxious to meet her new granddaughter. But, I know most about her generosity with her time when she was with you, Jack and Harper. When you meet your Mimi you were tiny, barely able to open your eyes, and your Mimi visited you. Even when she couldn’t hold you, she would sing to you and sit with you. When you were big enough to be held, she would rock you and comb your hair and calm you in a way only a grandmother could. Mimi would spend hours talking to you, and when you came home, she generously gave of her sleep to stay up nights with you and feed you, and console you, and walk the floor with you. Without your Mimi and her generosity, we wouldn’t have made it through your first year.
But most importantly, I want you to know that your Mimi loved you with a love that is vehement and eternal. From the moment she laid eyes on you, John Alexander and Harper Marie, your Mimi loved you and protected you and gave everything she had to you and your cousins. When Mimi came to our house, it was all about you two and what you wanted to do and spending time with you. She sat for hours holding you and loving you through some of the scariest moments in the NICU and the most frustrating moments at home. When I would say that I wished things were different, Mimi would disagree saying that if Harper acted any differently, it wouldn’t be her nature and she was a little fighter already, or she would say that she didn’t mind holding Jack upright for 30 minutes after eating- it gave her longer to cuddle with him. Mimi knew how much you loved to read, so she got you a subscription to Highlights Magazine; I know that she loved to see how much you liked those magazines and how worn they were from hours of use. In fact, we got a card in the mail a couple of weeks ago that Mimi renewed your Highlights subscription. Even when she was sick, she was still caring for you and loving you and doing things to show you how much she loved you. Your Mimi was an amazing woman, and she has left a hole in our family, but it will be a hole filled with funny stories, warm memories, and lots of love and laughter, and all the things she hoped for you two. If you could only know how much your Mimi loved you, Harper and Jack, how much she still loves you even now, from a place so beautiful that we could never imagine it with these earthly eyes. You will have an angel looking down on you, my precious babies, and one day you will throw your arms around your Mimi and you will laugh and dance with her in eternal glory.
Soon we’ll say our final goodbyes to Mimi, a wonderful lady who left us too soon, but you will always have the treasured pictures to show you how important you were to her, how loved you were by her, how wanted and special you were to your Mimi. Never forget that, Harper and Jack, never forget how much your Mimi loved you.
O Me! O Life!
Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.