A Letter to my Sweetheart

Dear Mama,

What to say to the woman who could say it all with two words and a smile: "Hello, Lover." I love that you called me that. I love that you could brighten up any room you were in, and could make your grandkids all so jealous for your affection. I love that you taught me to love-- to love good books, education, and all the opportunities I have around me; to love the arts, new cultures, and people; to love family, philanthropy, and friends (in that order); to love life, no matter what happens.

You lived for everyone around you. In the hours after working in your garden, you'd sit me down, and we'd chat for more time than we had worked. You used to talk with me of books, while sipping a Coke. Because of you, my affair with literature began with "Good Night Moon" and continues with "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Because of you, I appreciate Sheakespeare and Seuss, Martin and Tolkien, Nephi and Moses, without the snobbery sometimes donned on those "non-classical" names. Your love of books infused in me some small current of your electricity. And it keeps me charged.

When I saw you last, you touched my cheek softly and said "We don't know anything yet. Just have faith. You don't need to cry." Within an hour, you were gone, hand still in mine, voice grown quiet. But your words echo within me now. Just Have Faith. You always had faith in us, in me, even when we didn't deserve it. With you, nothing was an obstacle to get around; it was just an opportunity to climb higher. You were the gentle word after the thunder, the cool of a breeze when fire raged all around. You encouraged me when discouragement caught hold, uplifted when all I felt whispered "Down." You made me want to live. Not just to breath, but to catch hold of life and ride it hard--to the Amazon, Tikal, Notre Dame, the Louvre; from the Chupakamane to the Maya, Europe to Central America, Utah to BYU.

When I lived on the banks of the massive Rio Negro, that mighty river was a trickle to the ocean of your presence in my life. And now you left me. But not forever. Not for long. Just a time. And even as you left me, something lovely came to mind. Something both you and I loved. Wordsworth's "Intimations on Immortality." Beautiful Words with Beautiful Meaning:

Ye blessèd creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel—I feel it all.
O evil day! if I were sullen
While Earth herself is adorning,
This sweet May-morning,
And the children are culling
On every side,
In a thousand valleys far and wide,
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the babe leaps up on his mother's arm:—
I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
—But there's a tree, of many, one,
A single field which I have look'd upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
The pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

Mama, I owe my life, my faith, and my love to you. And though I won't have your word or your hands with me as I walk the rest of the way, you'll be there, always my ocean, forever my support. I know this, because of everything you taught us, this I keep for me: Heaven is all around. Heaven is here. Heaven is our eternal, enduring family. Of that, I echo your faith. But I can't promise I won't cry.

Love you, Lover,
Your "Sweet Boy"


Barb said...

You are a sweet boy, Eric. What a touching and worthwhile tribute to a wonderful lady. I was very emotional as I read your letter to your "Mama"- thank you for sharing it with me.

Patten said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patten said...

Knowing a woman without ever meeting her is a unique relationship. But it is the very relationship I had with your grandma. Your tribute displays the same love and respect you've always had for your grandma. I became familiar with your grandma by experiencing your love and respect for her. She will be missed.

Cotter said...

That is very sweet Eric!

Steve, Liz and Jaxon said...

Hey its Liz! I saw your grandma's obituary. I am sorry! But that was a sweet tribute. I was a little offended that I am not one of your links so next time i am on I'd better be there!
-Liz Evans