Last year at this time,  I was lucky enough to still have my mother. A generous woman who remembered every birthday, every anniversary, with cards and gifts.

I also had a lot of stuff. Too much stuff. It occurred to me that I didn’t need any more stuff. What I needed was more time with my mother. At 88, who knew how much more time we would have together.

So I decided that instead of birthday presents of more stuff, what I wanted most from my mother was more memories. Her memories. I already had my memories but wanted to hear her version.  And so I asked that in the future, could she send me gifts of memories. In each birthday, anniversary and Christmas card, could she substitute her traditional gift cards to restaurants and department stores with her memories. Hand written, cherished memories. And while she did still sneak in a gift card now and then, she started sending me her memories.

I found one of those cards today. Out of the blue. While rummaging through my desk for something I have already forgotten, I found a card that she had sent last year for my birthday. Her familiar handwriting leapt off the page and startled me. And then soothed me. The same handwriting that had signed my report cards eons ago. The same handwriting that had comforted and encouraged me in letters sent when I had been feeling lost and far from home. The same handwriting that had begun jotting notes of nearly everything as she lost confidence in her memory to keep track of even the mundane.

The world around me fell silent as I pulled up a chair to sit and savor her words in that familiar handwriting. She talked about how proud she was of me as I stood in my favorite blue dress on the bleachers in my school auditorium, singing my heart out in my second grade school play. She said she was still so proud of me. Proud of the mother I had become and the daughters I had raised. She wrote about how much she had enjoyed a recent phone call from my daughter, sharing thoughts on how far apart to space a second baby. Her favorite memory of me, her second child, was how easily I had napped. As the mother of two, I get it.

The card was dated October 4, 2015. Less than two months later, she was gone. Forever. No new memories to create or old memories to share. But I still have her card, in that familiar handwriting I know so well.  Emails get deleted. Phone calls forgotten. But I have her handwritten note and will keep it and reread it whenever I need to spend some time with her.

The time it takes to write a card or note is never wasted.  It brings joy when first received and only grows more valuable with time. Stuff wears out. Gets broken. Lost. Heirlooms don’t need to be made of silver or gold, china or crystal. Written memories are more precious than all the stuff we have stacked away in closets and attics.

Thank you, Mom, for taking the time to write and share your thoughts and memories.  It was wonderful to hear from you today.

Miss you heaps.


About Carol Bryant

Hi. My name is Carol Bryant. I'm a transplanted New Yorker, living in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains. While it was skiing that initially drew me to Colorado, it's been the laid-back, outdoor lifestyle which has kept me here for nearly 30 years. I'm a writer, nurse, travel agent and mediocre tennis player. I began my writing career 20 years ago, writing essays and magazine articles. Recently, I completed my first manuscript and am currently seeking representation for this work. It's a memoir of my nursing career which spans two continents, forty years and some of the most intriguing characters who have ever entered a hospital. I’ve been told that if I ever hope to have my memoir published, I need to establish a platform – a following of readers who enjoy my writing. So, I am shamelessly asking for you to become part of that platform. I plan to blog on various topics that I find entertaining. If you are entertained, moved to cry or laugh out loud, then I have accomplished what I have set out to do. I feel as if I am taking that first, timid step out onto the frozen lake, hoping that the ice will hold me. It’s scary as hell but I’ll give it a go. After some of the things I have faced down in my 40 years of nursing, how bad can blogging be? It beats shaving scrotums.
This entry was posted in Aging, life lesson in love, Memories, motherhood, mothers day, the written word and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to WRITE NOW

  1. Pingback: WRITE NOW | carolbryantblog

  2. Cassie George says:

    Oh i’m crying. Beautifully said, Mom. You always knew the value of hand written notes and letters and i have always been so grateful for you making us write thank you notes to every gift (well, maybe not ALWAYS…). I still do that today and people are always pleasantly surprised, because it’s so rarely done. I hope you will continue to write your version of raising me in the red journal. I love reading and i know it will be invaluable one day. I’m glad you have those memories from Nana. I love you so much!


  3. Frances says:

    So beautiful Carol! Your words are magical. They leave such a deep nostalgia/longing for the past. Thank you!


  4. Patricia says:

    That is the best memory to have. I wish I could have had those moments with my mother and asked her many more questions about me growing up. There is nothing like a handwritten letter or card to touch your heart.


  5. Virginia Smith says:

    You make me cry first thing in the office… it’s Mother’s Day this weekend and I sharply know how you feel


  6. Lynne K says:

    All of life is bittersweet. What a lovely piece, Carol~


  7. Very touching, I know how wonderful it is to have something tangible to hold from your mom. I have the many recipes that my mom had handwritten . All the special ones that I enjoyed eating as a kid growing up. I made a cook book of them all, she now adds her love to them as I make them.


  8. So touching, I know what it’s like to have something tangible that you can enjoy. I have all the recipes that my mother handwrote and gave them to me. I made a cook book with them , now I can enjoy the ones she made , and think of her as I do it.


  9. Gerry Fitzgerald says:

    You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. NIce to see you still have memories you can feel and see. A touching tribute.


  10. diannegray says:

    This is a beautiful tribute to your mother, Carol. I also have hand written notes from my mother who died in March this year. There is something about hand written notes that is so touching and lasting. Wonderful post xxxx


    • Carol Bryant says:

      Thanks Dianne. I’m sorry to hear about your loss as well. I never understood how hard it would be. I hope that you are finding some comfort in your memories of your mother.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Barbara Dalton says:

            Reread your blogs, loved them.    I think I told  you that my mother wrote down her favorite recipes, well I made a  recipe book with them.  T hey are extra special since they are in her hand writing.  The old saying  about ” time heals”,  don’t  believe it.   I still  miss  my mother  like  it was yesterday,  but  I feel close to her when  I use  “the  cookbook”.          Miss seeing you,      Barbaa


      • Carol Bryant says:

        I would love to see your recipe book. Maybe we can coordinate NC and SC trips one of these days. I miss your parents too. They were the best.


      • Wish we could get back there, I’d love to see you all. We were there last June , glad we got to visit with your mom. Little did I know it would be for the last time.


      • diannegray says:

        Thank you, Carol xxx


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