Mom’s Letters

by Mark on August 30, 2010

The fall semester is beginning and anxiety is flowing from the freshmen faces. It reminds me of my first weeks at Ohio University. Not only was I homesick, but the campus seemed like a carnival surrounded by freak shows. What kept me going were the square envelopes that arrived a couple times per week in my mail box – Mom’s letters. The lined flowered stationery contained the flowing loops of encouragement, love, pride, and a repeated lesson – take it day-by-day.

Like a lost baseball card or coin collection, I wish there was still a box of those special notes. In today’s digital world, not everyone understands the power of personally penned letters. The blue pen pressed more boldly on passionate words, almost embossing the sheet, “Keep going . . . each day will be better . . . I love you! They became my bookmarks and energy bars, constantly re-read. Day-by-day, my world got better and the number of visits home shrank.

My Mom was the oldest of seven in a hard-working family that lost their farm in the Great Depression. Those siblings remain her best friends. She insists life has been wonderful even after losing her husband at 49 or watching her oldest daughter suffer for two decades before succumbing to Lupus. Mom’s day-by-day approach continues to be tested with the passing of two beloved brothers and a litany of friends. In July a grandson, her precious ‘Teddy Bear,’ tragically left us. My Mom is not super-human and each loss slams against her like a rogue wave of sorrow. As the water recedes, she slowly revives. Mom is patient with God and she paces herself through each challenge.

Arthritis reduces her letters and she expects our generation to pick-up the pen. Recently, I thanked her for pushing me to read and showing me how to write. She brushed it off and began lecturing me on my weak church attendance. There is no loss of passion. Mom just turned 86 and I worry about how much time remains for us. I imagine her reply in bold blue strokes, “The Lord only promises today. Take advantage of it!”

Two close friends, Myra & Pat, with Mom and I - July 2010

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Joan September 5, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Oh my gosh Mark, this one made me cry. What a lovely tribute to your Mom. You are so lucky to have her!

Barbie December 1, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Hi Mark, Just found your website after talking to my brother Dave tonight on the phone. I love this blog, and the Clark family. They are such a loving, close family with a deep faith that is evident in the way they all live their lives. Aunt Rita is special, too. I’ll never forget talking to her prior to being married (about her faith) and the kind and wise words she said to me. They impacted my faith for years to come! We have to enjoy and cherish the time we have left with all of our loved ones for we know not what tomorrow holds. Blessings to you and your family! Hope you have wonderful holidays!!

Mary Miller December 21, 2016 at 8:01 am

Hi Mark!! I came across your web-site and read this little ditty about your mom’s hand written letters to you at school, and the encouraging words of wisdom! My Dad would always write too and send a $5.00 bill and said “don’t spend it all at once”! Thanks for the memory and sweet picture. I remember your mother so well as she was good friends with my parents too! They all were such faith-filled people and left a wonderful legacy! I’m reading your blog as I reminisce about Defiance….thank you Mark for your incredible wring skills! Merry Christmas to you and yours! Mary and Hode too ❣️

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