Dear Doris, I’m Still Sorry for Everything; Twenty Easters Later.
Dear Doris, I still love you. It’s been twenty Easters since you died. It’s been twenty Easters that have never felt the same on this Earth. I am usually a very “Kay Sera” kind of person. Whatever happened, happened for a reason and I can’t go back and change any of it now, so why beat myself up, right? Except this. I sit every year and wonder, what your last thought of me that passed through your dying mind. “Is Nena going to make it?”. Or maybe, “Is Nena going to be ok?.” In this one case, I wish that you could see that I’m doing okay. I’m better than okay. I was headed down a dark path and when you left the Earth, I just running and never looked back.
Dear Doris, I still miss you. Twenty Easters later, I remember your face like it was yesterday. I can still hear your voice. I still know who you are. You are the craftiest, kindest, most patient person in my memory. Even though time distorts perspectives and I don’t think that the summer is eternity anymore, or that I’ll be 14 forever, I still think you’re the strongest woman that I’ve ever known. I remember talking about how uncle Jamie died when he was young from “water on the brain” and hearing about his short life. Now that I have my own children, it amazes me that you could even speak his name without it visibly tearing your heart out, every single time. I remember hearing about sitting at his hospital bed and praying with him.
Dear Doris, I still know how much you loved me. That is really the main reason why I so wish my kids that could know you. Maybe if you had been alive things would be different than they are now. Maybe they would be running along the path next to your house tasting the fresh mint and smelling the lilacs. You would have loved these kids. They would have been like your own. Callie and how much she looks like me, but so much more mature and kind and smarter than me. Jordan with his big ornery grin and great sense of humor, his surprising depth and sensitivity. Wild as the day is long. Cammie with her curls and the joy and life in her eyes. Jackson and his silliness, busyness, his intensity, and his sincere, true little heart. You would love how good they are. They are nothing like I was. They would have loved to do crafts with you. I remember dying little alphabet soup in noodle and gluing it to write little letters. You always let me get into all of your favorite beautiful things. Your jewelry, your paints in the basement, all the things that you shared with me.
Dear Doris, I’m still sorry. The most sorry. Sorry you didn’t see how things turned out. Sorry that you didn’t get to see all of your prayers and patience pay off. I wish you could see the person I am and who I’ve become and overcome to be her. I wish I believed you were looking down and watching over me. I remember walking around outside late at night, smoking my secret cigarettes and looking up the stars, so angrily, wondering if you were up there or not. Wondering if you died disappointed with me because I couldn’t do better. I asked God if you were there. I told Him I was sorry, not for what I’d done, but for you. I was sorry that you hurt and died, and I never did anything except let you down.
Twenty years and twenty Easters later. I am at peace with who am I and what I’ve done. The restoration I have experienced over the last twenty years is full and complex like a good wine and in true fashion of the celebration of Easter. It gives everything that has happened new meaning and purpose. I am pouring out with thankfulness that my sins are forgiven, because He paid for them on this day. You taught me that. You prayed with me on the bottom bunk upstairs. You helped me ask Jesus into my heart almost thirty years ago, kneeling next o that bed. I don’t think I ever heard you complain about anything in my entire memory of you. I don’t remember you ever looking down on me for screwing everything up. I wish I was more like you. I will keep trying.
Dear Doris, today I know the truth that you wanted me to know when you left. You were so wise. You weren’t disappointed, let down or ashamed. You saw something that I just couldn’t see. Something in me, that I hadn’t seen. And He sees me like you saw me. All potential, fire, fun, freedom and fullness. He sees newness and beauty and life. He looks back and remembers me as I am and not as I was. Forgiven. Again, and again, and again.
Dear Doris, thank you for everything. I didn’t deserve it, but I sure needed it. Love, Nena.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2011:25&version=NIVJohn 11:25 NIV