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The Biggest Thank You of All


It’s two weeks until Mother’s Day.

And, whether your relationship with your mother (or as a mother) is a work of art or a work in progress (or just a piece of work), we trust this letter that our dear friend, Elena Brower, wrote to her mom after her passing in 2016 and so graciously shared with us will move you as it did us. (And yes, tissues not mandatory, necessary.)

She’s already everywhere, but still. I just want to hear her voice. The voice to which I couldn’t listen so many times. Now I ache for it. It’s all so silly and potent and poetic and tragic and magical. This is my thank you note to my Mama, Judi, for giving me all of it.

Dear Mama. …

Thank you for being the first place I ever knew.

Thank you for the gift of being with you on this Earth, and thank you for my magnificent life, for the privilege of watching you work, and try and cry, and thrive, so much of the time.

Thank you for helping me understand empathy. And how to listen for my deepest sympathies. Thank you for reminding me to use my listening to see.

Thank you for teaching me to take time to look, and to attune, to the impossible b
eauty of the clouds, the sunsets, every exquisite moon, and thank you for helping me be silenced by the grandeur of our greatest Mother, Nature.

All the flowers, those hours you’ve spent tending to those babies out there – I’m now more clear in my own caring just from witnessing you. Thank you for teaching me to value humility, and for setting the stage for a life of truth, valor, eagerness, and beauty.

Thank you for lending me your light when I couldn’t find my own. Thank you for being my example of home, of family. Of all I’ve ever known about being real – for myself, for anyone else.

And thank you for giving me a stellar sister, who’s showing me how to raise a man. Watching her son rise and take us all with him has helped me see who I am, and who I want to be as a mother. Thank you for inspiring me to make a boy of my heart, at nine years old such a privilege, this daily art of giving his wisdom good voice, and letting his strengths be his choices.

Thank you for teaching us all how to be kind. Generous. How to be more deeply present for everyone. Thank you for forgiving when we couldn’t find the words for a proper reconciliation.

Thank you for being Anthony’s unprecedented place to land; for being the feeling of home for this magnanimous man, who’s benefited so deeply from your capable, loving hands, and ears, and eyes. Thank you for holding him so dearly, and thank you for helping me see him so fully, and so clearly through your eyes.

And thank you for giving him, and James and Bentley, the sweetest kind of love. It will be passed along to our boy in ways we can never know.

Thank you for teaching me to take responsibility for my learning, for moving me to chase clear knowledge, how to rise above what I perceive to be unfurling – and thank you for pushing me to excel through whatever I’m enduring. Thank you for the finest context I could’ve ever asked for, filled with warmth, and family – thank you for teaching me style, and how to stay close to my personal integrity. Thank you for living now in my heart, my hands, my words, and my mind, and thank you for watching over me for all time as a witness to my readiness.

And thank you for filling me with awe and wonder whenever I forget.

Thank you for being so proud, for bragging about me, for sharing me.

Thank you for knowing me, and for growing up with me.

Thank you for deeply getting me.

Thank you for granting us the medicine of dignity in setting you free so quietly.

Thank you for the unconditional, unequivocal love.

Thank you for reminding me that what I am will always be more than enough.

Thank you for being Daddy’s lighthouse – the ultimate, consummate matriarch. Thank you for making notes of gratitude your highest art and miracle.

Thank you most of all for prioritizing us, your people.

Yours will forever be the most perfectly un-fillable shoes to fill.

I love you Mama. Love you. Love you. Thank you.

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