We love you. We miss you. We remember you.
Even though we are separated by that grand canyon between mortality and immortality, our love for you continues. You left an enduring imprint on us. We all have ways that embody Nellie Harper. Your kindness is part of each of our DNA. It would be fun to tell you about the kindness of your children, exhibited just this year. That quiet kindness abides in each of your grandchildren, too. It isn’t always evident between siblings (wry grin), but they are kind people.
We all have wishes.
We wish we could honor you, our mom, face to face. As the years accumulate, we see with greater clarity what we owe you. What was a given—your smile, your excellence, your steadfastness, your encouragement—when we were kids, we now know was such an immense gift. You shaped us into who we are. We all would love to ‘praise you in the gates’. To have you hear our gratitude, feel our hugs.
We wish our kids knew you…beyond the stories we tell. Ditto, for the husbands and wives who never met you. They get the trace elements of you through us, but we’d love them to know the real you.
And Mom? We all wish we were more like you. Sometimes that is the grief we silently share, more than missing you. Your wisdom: your sweet, practical wisdom. Your generosity. Your faith. You made such an impact on more than one community. You were extraordinary in such an ordinary way.
We’re getting together for Anne’s wedding soon. A large, unruly, talkative, loud crowd of relatives. It will be a great time.
It always comes round to thanksgiving. The hollow years without you can’t compare to the full years of having you. You filled us up; you fed us; you nurtured us; you made each of us know how special we were to you. The tears have slowed to a tiny trickle. We all get throat-lumpy in May. But it is thanksgiving that we feel in the end. Another of your legacies is the lack of bitterness in your children.
Mom. We love you. We miss you. We remember you.
Carol, for all of us