I love you like a circle…

I love you like a circle with no beginning and no ending…

Claire’s kindergarten teacher at the Catholic school, Miss Tieken, taught my daughter this and we’ve been saying it ever since. When mom was in the hospital last year, we would read the book “Guess How Much I Love You” which ended with the infamous, “I love you to the moon and back.” That never seemed enough. It was finite. Every mother knows that her love for her children knows no bounds. So love you like a circle became our motto. We had bracelets and necklaces with circles which we still wear as a symbol of our commitment to one another. 

The day that mom came home, Chrystal and I joked about all of us getting circle tattoos, knowing there was no way she would agree. She’s always been against tattoos and shakes her head at every one that my sister and I, or anyone for that matter, has. She’s old school from the south…raised a Bible thumping Baptist. Tattoos are a sin to her.

As we were joking, she said, “Yes. Let’s do it.”


So we loaded her up a few days later and took her to a tattoo shop. I can’t remember the last time I was that giddy. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. They were strategically placed on our right wrists so that everything we do and reach for, we are reminded of our love for one another.



So the woman who is near death, who thinks she may be committing a sin, does it anyways because she knows it’s important to her girls. She sacrificed to give us a piece of her and a memory to hold onto for the rest of our lives. A mother’s love and sacrifice knows no bounds…



Everyone has asked how my kids are doing…

From day 1, Claire has had to tuck in her Mamaw in every night. And boy does she tuck…every last bit of comforter is tucked under her and she can’t move like a mummy. It’s quite humorous.


Claire is such a loving and caring soul. She is Mamaw’s little sidekick. For right now, Claire is doing ok. She doesn’t cry anymore. But the first couple of weeks were rough on her. She cried almost every night. She’s way beyond any of us in processing this. She’s thinking of future events that Mamaw will miss: birthdays, Christmas, graduation, her wedding. At eleven, she’s saying things like, “If I had known this would be my last birthday with Mamaw, I would have tried to make it the best ever.” Oh my dear child. The guilt starts young. And how do we answer a child’s “why” when we can’t reconcile it to ourselves.

All I can do is hold them while they cry. It rips my heart to pieces to see them hurting. Which then makes me realize that’s exactly how our mother feels when she sees us cry. Someone please come mend our broken hearts…


One particular night, Claire was sitting in mom’s lap crying. The conversation went a little like this:

Claire: Mamaw, I can’t stand the thought of you not being here.

Mom: I’ll always be here. Just not in the way you are used to. Mamaw will be in the wind. Every time you feel the wind against your face, that is Mamaw telling you I’m here.



These windchimes that hang at my mom’s house will be Claire’s when she grows up.


Jack is dealing with things exactly how you’d expect a eight-year-old boy to process things. One night he ran up to my mom and exclaimed, “You know what’s going to happen to your heart when you die? Its going to go, bump, bump, bump…and then it’s going to stop.” Oh my dear sweet boy.



When she came home, she said that she wanted to have a Christmas before she goes. Christmas is her favorite time of the year. There is so much joy and love and giving wrapped up in that holiday…why don’t we treat every morning like Christmas morning? So Christmas is scheduled for this weekend. When she picked the date, Chrystal and I were nervous that she wouldn’t make it this long. She proved us wrong once again. We’ve wheeled her through Toys-R-Us. We’ve been wrapping presents. The kids have their little trees put up. We made Christmas cookies. We have a turkey thawing. Tomorrow will be our Christmas. Her Christmas.



May you also treat tomorrow like Christmas morning and then every morning after that.

I know I needed that reminder…some days are so hard, I know…we are tired. Life gets us down. We are busy and run ragged. But we can try.

Take it from Claire and make it the BEST EVER…no one knows if you’ll get another.

May the peace and joy of Christmas be with you, my friends. We love you.


September 26, 2015 - 10:37 pm

Melissa - This is so beautiful and heart-wrenching. May you all find peace on your difficult journey. Your story of love is so powerful. Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas.

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