On the 40th day after my mother's passing, I burned the letters I'd sent to her all those years ago. I'd like to say that I felt something profound as I watched them go up in flames in the old charcoal grill out back. But, in truth, I watched the conflagration of memories rather impassively -- more focused on the fire itself than on the items being consumed.
I will say that, upon reflection and sitting down to write this post, I feel a lightness in my heart. That awful time of my life has been put to rest. The gift is that now I can see how amazing was God's provision for my mother and me in our relationship. If you had asked me 30 years ago if I expected or wanted to take care of my mother, or be with her when she passed from this life, I'd have said an emphatic "no." That she and I came to find a solid and comforting relationship -- one on which she could depend in her later years -- is nothing short of a divine gift.
It's hard to believe that my mother didn't know those letters were still lying around. She deep cleaned her house twice a year Without Fail, so it's really a stretch to think there was anything in her closets or bureaus that she wasn't aware of. I don't know what she intended by holding onto them -- other than that I am sure it wasn't harm. I don't know if she kept them for her own benefit. I DO know that God used the letters for good and that, despite the emotional maelstrom they stirred up when I read through them, a measure of comfort and a sense of closure for that period of life has been received.