Happy Birthday…I know that you don’t really find as much excitement in birthdays as I do, but that’s ok, because no matter what, Birthdays are a really good thing. You asked me to write you a letter again, and you said that it doesn’t have to be by your birthday, but I am going to do my best. You are the best mama anyone can ever have! You do everything for me but at the same time, you raise me like a good child. Yes, sometimes I might get mad at you, but I always get over it. Sometimes, I feel like you are my best friend just because it is so easy to talk to you and have fun. If I don’t play AAU I will miss being able to go to nationals and spend a whole week together doing whatever we want!
Also, I really want to thank you for everything you do for me, just to make me happy. Not just you, but kylie and dada all really like to make me happy and do so many things. Such as the never ending birthday month, no matter if I show it enough then, I really appreciate everything that you do. thank you mama for everything, for being my mother, my friend, and my biggest supporter. You are there for me always and I will always remember that. I really love everything you do for me, and even If I get mad at you, it’s just because Im a teenager and that’s whats supposed to happen.
Oh how I cherish the letters I have from Cameron, the cards, the notes, the memories but above all the letters. For that I have Jana and Richard to thank. (I wonder if they have someone to thank? I have never asked but I will. I know now that I will.) Ours is a wonderful friendship. We went to their house when their three boys were young and growing and they started coming more frequently to ours when their boys were grown and our girls were growing. Our friendship with them morphed from their being our adult friends to their being friends of ours and of our children.
In the 25 years we have known each other, Jana had mentioned to me once, or maybe even more than once, that she and her boys exchanged letters more frequently than gifts. That stuck with me. I’ve never been one to want gifts. I recoil from celebrations involving me. I love giving but receiving isn’t something I do well. But now, because of Jana and Richard, I realize how important some gifts are. How lasting they can be, how much they can be treasured, both in the moment and long after.
I adopted Jana and Richard’s ritual for my own. I asked the girls to write me letters in lieu of gifts at Christmas, on my birthday and for Mother’s Day. I had always stressed that “homemade is best” when it came to their giving gifts but I waited too long to ask for letters. There could have been so many more. But that is just me being greedy, I am working on remembering, on knowing, on living with the knowledge that what I do have is perfect, is just enough. I need to release the egoic me, the part that desires more than I have, the part that wishes for more rather than simply rejoicing in what I had/have. I am working on honoring the fact that what is is already enough. I think that might be the biggest lesson to learn from Cameron’s death.
Last night in my reading in James Van Praagh’s Meditations book, the one I turned to when I chose at random was:
Think of today as an opportunity to discover and grow beyond your mental and emotional discomfort. When a difficult situation is upon you, reach into the depth of your being and find a greater meaning to your life and your purpose on Earth. Some of the greatest agonies are the greatest triumphs for your soul’s evolution.
And when I read Rumi, this is the part I tagged, the part that spoke to me. Is it any wonder since I am here in the Bahamas watching Lara with Rowan Cameron O’Neill Calver?
Give your weakness
To one who helps.
Crying out loud and weeping are great resources.
A nursing mother, all she does
Is wait to hear her child.
Just a little beginning-whimper,
And she’s there.
God created the child, that is, your wanting,
So that it might cry out, so that milk might come.
Cry out! Don’t be stolid and silent
With your pain. Lament! And let the milk
Of loving flow into you.
The hard rain and wind
are ways the cloud has
to take care of us.
Respond to every call
that excites your spirit.
Ignore those that make you fearful
and sad, that degrade you
back toward disease and death.
On this trip, the process of trekking to the beach each morning to indulge in the written word is a breach in my stolid and silent self. I am able to let the milk of loving flow for my daughters. Just as Cameron knew she was loved, I, too, know that there is love surrounding me.
The love surrounding her continues even though she has left her physical being. I think there is more love from more places and people than she would have comfortably claimed as her own during her time on Earth.
She is not the only one. So many of us are loved more than we know. It is in loving that we live.
Thank you Jana. Thank you “PH.” Thank you Lucy and Poppy. Your love lives on in my life, too.