Never Used to Your Absence

Nellie Harper 3/23/20 – 5/7/1968


My mom’s death from an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder was sudden. There were no good-byes other than a casual “bye, Mom!” tossed over the shoulder as I left the house.

As I re-read some of her letters, I notice how she said good-bye to my dad, a college professor teaching in another state. And, these many years later, she continues to instruct me.



I miss you here – really seems lonesome without you – just a few weeks like we had in Sept. spoils me.  But since I love you so much I know that it will always be that way – I don’t get used to you being away, I just wait for you to come home.

Je t’aime beaucoup, beaucoup…

Now I must close – surely do miss you.  Guess I didn’t write partly because I was just too lonesome and didn’t want to sound too sad.  Those spells come when I feel as though I just have to see you, and anticipating a week end without you seems too much.  I just must not think ahead to weekends but take each day as it comes.  And the thought of you using so much time and energy and losing out on your studies just to come home doesn’t cheer me any either.  All in all it is not the most satisfactory situation, but it is the best one for us now or else the Lord would change it, of that I’m sure.

Must close for now.  I do love you and, like Danny, I often would like to give up because “I want you”.  But because of you I take heart and strive to do a good job here.

But we’ll keep on in our feeble way.

I love you and I just can’t get used to having you gone so much — howbeit the Lord has given joy and peace just to know that you are busy for Him.

Time to close — wish you were here to talk to instead of writing. Take care of yourself these busy days. We love you and your name is mentioned ump-teen times a day. I’m learning that when you really love a person you never get used to having him gone — it gets worse instead of easier. Hurry up, summer!

I love you and miss you so much. I would like to have a week or so together with no other responsibility but to catch up on all we’ve missed this winter. But we can only dream of such a time with all the cares of this world upon us.

Like Jimmy says “Daddy can fix anything.” But it is not primarily a handy man that I need here, but to have your love and fellowship in person.

Oh, Mom. I remember you. Forty-five years it has been and I continue to note your absence. I wish that your daughters-in-law, your sons-in-law, your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren—every one of them—could know you the way my brothers and sisters and I know you. I wish I could call you on the phone and exclaim today’s good news: the next baby is a GIRL!! I can hear your chuckle at my exuberant joy.

Your letters inspire me. I can take heart and strive to imitate you, to become a Nellie Harper to my people. Thank you for pouring yourself out for us, for giving us yourself, day after day after day. Thank you for being the best mom ever.

Always yours,



Other May 7th posts:
Dear Mom
A Reduction of Tears
Lighthearted on a Heavy Day
May 7, 1968
She’s Not Here

Letters from Mom


4 thoughts on “Never Used to Your Absence

  1. Both of my parents (at age 24) lost a parent and I hurt for them (as I do for you and Donna), because I cannot imagine losing a parent.  I often wonder what it would have been like to know them each.  And they are some of the first people I will look for in heaven  ~

  2. Carol,  Just wanted to let you know that mom (Floy Stover) and I have taken some time to look over your posts and your wonderful tribute to Aunt Nellie.  We appreciated reading the letters, even though they were sad.  Mom and Dad both thought a lot of Nellie.  Actually, Daddy quite “adored” her.Janet Stover SandersOlympia, WA 

Comments are cinnamon on my oatmeal!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s