To My Mother

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As I stand in the middle of our dark nursery, rocking my daughter to sleep, I cannot help but be amazed by you. I try to hum her bedtime lullaby, but tears stream down my face.

I don’t know how you did it.


Today, your youngest daughter would have turned 26. Today is the day that you welcomed her into your arms, your heart and your home. It’s the day you sat in a hospital room in shock, in pain, and in pure wonder of the new little life you brought into the world.

And even though I, too, have given birth, I don’t know how you did it.


You celebrated milestones and birthdays, grade cards and every little accomplishment. You cheered us on through lessons and practices, piano recitals and basketball games, even though we acted like practicing might ruin our lives. You never gave up.

You knew better than us. You always did. And I don’t know how you did it.


You went through doctors appointments and sat in the surgical waiting room. You met with specialists and prayed like crazy. You tackled chemo treatments and radiation. You held tiny hands through blood draws and wiped away tears after IV’s. You wept and prayed some more.

I don’t know how you did it.


She’s been gone for 14 years now. Your heart was wrung out and broken, shattered into pieces. Your hopes were dashed and your dreams were crushed. But life didn’t end there. You carefully, prayerfully let God put the pieces of you back together again. You kept on living, kept on loving, kept on giving your life away.

I don’t know how you did it. 


You found life after death. You found reasons to laugh and reasons for joy. Your heart kept beating for your family.

It took me having a daughter of my own to realize the enormity of your love. To realize the depths of love that your heart can hold, and to only imagine the agony of loss.

And yet, it didn’t make you bitter or distant. It made you gentle and tender.

Holding my daughter gives me the sweetest glimpse into the sweetest love that has surrounded me my entire life.


I don’t know how you did it.

I don’t know how you still do it.

But I am so thankful, so blessed, and so honored that you do.


3 responses to “To My Mother

  1. Once again you have found the perfect words! You all are amazing and so was your precious sister. I believe that your little girl will grow up to be another wonderful “Butler” woman!!!

  2. Lin,Kala and Deb, WELL DONE!!! And to you, little Ruthie, more than we have ever asked or imagined is celebrated in your precious life. Love, Gemma

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