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For the Unmothered on the Eve of Mother’s Day

Josh sent me this piece about a final conversation that a grandmother got to have with her grandchild when she was in the NICU because it combined two things he said that I knew a lot about: the NICU and Dumbledore.

It is a gorgeous piece, written by a new father, about opening the letter his mother wrote to her future grandchild — the one she wouldn’t get to meet.  The letter sat in a safe deposit box, waiting for this moment when he would become a father.  He finally opened it and read aloud his mother’s words to his daughter while she was in the NICU, with an “uncertain grasp on this world.”

He admits: “I was scared to open it. My mother and I used to talk for hours, about everything and nothing. Now there was one conversation left.”

On Wednesday I brought the letter to the NICU, unsealed it and began reading out loud. “I am with you.”

The words sounded odd; they were not my mother’s phrasing. But I knew them from somewhere. I searched my memory until it hit me: Harry Potter. My mother bought each book the day it came out and read them all again and again, especially after she got sick. When she didn’t have the energy to hold them, she lay in the hammock and listened on tape. Most of all she loved Dumbledore, who serves as the father Harry never had.

For everyone who won’t get a chance to have a conversation with your mother tomorrow, my heart is with you.  I wish you could have one last conversation too.

Please read the piece in full at the New York Times.


1 tigger62077 { 05.10.14 at 8:37 pm }

Dagnabbit. I’m teary. I wish my mother had been around for The Boy. I often wish that, that I could call her and go “hey mom? There’s this thing and I need advice and HEEEEEELP!” Yeah, I can call my dad, but it’s seriously just not the same. He doesn’t get what I need from him the way she would have. We don’t have that bond. This month is one of the more difficult ones, as her birthday and Mother’s Day are never far apart. Thank you, for this. I like to think she’s watching over The Boy when I can’t be there, or while he sleeps, or…even when I AM around. 🙂

2 Shelby { 05.10.14 at 10:07 pm }

Oh, goodness, Mel. I’m all teary, too. This is just too beautiful and I know my Mom would’ve written similar words to my son.

3 a { 05.11.14 at 12:12 am }

I was at a birthday party when I started reading the link you posted, and I had to stop reading before I really started crying. I still haven’t finished it. Maybe tomorrow…

4 JustHeather { 05.12.14 at 2:35 pm }

Thank you Mel. (I’m glad I didn’t read this yesterday, as it was a pretty ok day for me.)

5 Battynurse { 05.16.14 at 4:59 am }

Thanks. I tried pretty hard to ignore the day. Beautiful post.

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