Goodbye my mother the mother I never really knew.

Goodbye to the woman housed me in your body for nine full months.

Goodbye to the 16 year old girl who held me once and then handed me over to the nuns with a hope I would have a better life than you could provide.

I want you to know that I have had a beautiful life. My childhood was filled with love, two doting parents, a wondrous brother who was my very first friend.

Today we scattered your ashes. Today I waded out into the Columbia River at Astoria where you wanted to be scattered at the sunrise with the outgoing tide. I waded out and spread your remains with tears flowing down my face, my heart filled with regret.

I walked back to shore and your brother, who was more father to you than brother, put his arm around me and reminded me that I still have blood family left.

We stood there and watched your remains float out, your brother and sister telling stories about you, so I could know you a little better now that it was too late to hear the stories from you.

I always thought we didn't have much in common. But when I hear stories I realize we did. We both did things our own way. We both were always late. We are both headstrong, independent women. We are both people other's don't easily forget.

I also saw all of your trophies for winning pool tournaments and laughed to myself when I recalled how just last weekend it sometimes took me three tries to hit the ball I was aiming for. I think you could have taught me how to play pool, if I would have made time for you in my life. If I would have pushed past the awkward we could have been so much more than two people related by blood.

After we scattered your ashes and ate breakfast, I walked in the woods up to Cathedral tree pushing my legs as they burned going up the steep hill, wanting to feel the pain. I wondered if you walked up to this tree as a teenager. Did you ever walk up here and cry for the baby you gave up? Today I walked with silent tears interrupted by noisy sobs, letting myself feel the grief and remorse.

I got home and opened up a packet of papers Aunt Linda had given me and came across the eulogy you wrote for yourself. With shaking hands I read your words, your message you wanted imparted after your death. In reading this I felt all of the pain you had gone through, felt your grief over the death of your sister a few years ago. But I also saw your beautiful heart.

Here are some of your final words which I am certain you would want me to share.

"It is not my intent to make you feel sad. Nor am I having a pity party because I died. I say these things to remind you to forgive, to laugh a little louder, and to love a little deeper. Be a friend even if you don't think that person likes you. Give the guy on the corner a buck if you have one. Smile at grumpy people. Keep people's secrets even when you've lost touch or are no longer friends...A simple gesture of kindness may be all it takes to change someone's life. Don't do someone a favor expecting to get something in return, or that they will now owe you one. Don't just remember the Golden Rule, but live by it. Treat everyone with love, trust, and respect. Do not expect it in return. Don't expect anything and you can't be disappointed when you don't get it. Give a little more instead.....Don't ridicule people for their transgressions or be judgmental, We've all made mistakes, and given a little time you'll probably screw up again. I, for one, am now done screwing things up. Just wanted to throw in a little levity there. "

Rhonda, Mom, I am so sorry I was not a better daughter to you, that I didn't know how to create a close relationship with you. I am sorry that your life was not an easy one. I will always be grateful that I was able to be there for you those last ten days of your life in the hospital. I am grateful that you were not left alone during that time because I know how afraid of that you were. I am grateful that I could share that space with you and hopefully ease your transition out of this world. I can only hope that if there is another life, I will get a chance to know you, to really know you and to make your world a brighter place. 


  1. Sobbing. You both have the most beautiful hearts. Your courage, love, and compassion are outmatched. It is an honor to love you. Now forgive yourself and know that you did the very best you could in the moment. She brought you into this world, then let you go for something better. You held her hand and spirit as she birthed into the next life. You gave each other the most precious of gifts. Hold onto that and let the rest go.


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