Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Letter to my Mother

Jo Williams
10/18/29 - 3/28/83

Dear Mom,

Today, 24 years after you were taken from us, I attended rehearsal for one show and performed before a full house in another. I hope you would be pleased that, on this unavoidable anniversary, I spent the day doing what I love.

I know it is not the life you envisioned for me. Even in my 20's, when you were still with us, I think you believed I was merely dabbling in the arts, paying the bills with retail and food service jobs. I have a hunch you thought, "Soon, he'll realize he can never make much of a living, doing theatre, and he'll change career paths."

That never happened. Your hopes for me, I know, included financial security and a family of my own. That never happened either, but I know your biggest wish for me was that I live a happy life, and in that, you can rest easily. I don't regret my career choices, even as my childhood buddies enjoy their wealth, their various vacation homes, their children (and grandchildren!).

Pictures of you surround me in my life: The birthday party you attended at age 10 in 1934, with your buddies Martha Suddeth and Barbara Bennett; the glamour shots of you as the first Apple Blossom Queen of Hendersonville, NC; the wedding portraits of you and Dad which frame my bed; and of course, many shots of the adult woman whom I remember so clearly.

I wear your wedding band on my little finger, a constant celebration of your life, but this time of year especially (and at Christmas, and on our birthdays, both yours and mine), you resurface in my consciousness, and in my dreams. I wonder what you might think of me, if you knew me now. I know you would love me, I even think you would like me, but I hope you would also be proud that I took an unexpected path.

Way back in 1983, when I was trying to make sense of the devastation of your death, I was told that those who are taken during Holy Week are especially blessed. It is rare that March 28 falls between Palm Sunday and Easter, but in 1983, it did. I hope it's true that you have found lasting peace.

I know you watch over us.