Dear Mom

Tonight is my last night in Biloxi. It's difficult, sometimes, to believe I have been here for fifty weeks. When I accepted the assignment last April, I promised Rhonda and myself, that I wouldn't stay longer than 90-days. Looking back I can't believe what a snot I was. Big City Girl does Mississippi and likes it. I think you would like it too. My condo is incredible, the sunsets are gorgeous and the weather is fantastic.
I decided to demobilize about a month ago. Initially, I was going to stay in Jackson and commute but decided against it. The more I thought about it, the better I felt about taking a break. I am so happy I made that decision.

I have spent the past two weeks saying my good-byes. Last night I put my ballet shoes on for the last time. Classes are finished for the year and will not begin again until August. Who knows where I will be by that time? Wherever I am, I hope to be in a studio resuming my classes. I love it. I always have.

Tonight I rode my bike around the cemetery one last time. I will miss the time I spend there. There is comfort in knowing you are not alone in your grief; that others are suffering like you are because they lost someone they loved too.

Tomorrow I will turn in my keys and rental car. From Gulfport I will fly to Atlanta and then on to Salt Lake City. Stephanie is driving down from Missoula, she is a saint, and will pick me up from the airport. She reserved us a room at the Marriott in downtown SLC because she wants our first two days there to be seamless.

On Friday, what should have been your 53rd birthday, Steph and I will go to the temple in the morning so I can participate in an ordinance on your behalf. Once complete, we will meet Desiree for lunch. Around 3pm Baby Rae, Kelly and Sarina will join us for another ordinance, which I will also perform on your behalf.

Last year, Shawna and Marlise met me in Savannah for your birthday. Since your passing I have wanted to do your temple work on your birthday. You always made our birthdays so special and I want to do the same for you. I can't think of a greater, more meaningful gift I could offer you. I know, I don't hope, I KNOW, because I know you, that you will accept it and be grateful for it. You have waited so long and I am so excited about this opportunity AND to think it almost didn't happen.
I was so worried but my dear Bishop, his name is George and his wife's name is Mary, you would absolutely love him, took care of everything. I love him so much. I would not be going to Salt Lake tomorrow if it wasn't for him. I honestly believe he is one of the reasons I am in Mississippi. He has lost so many loved ones and can understand me in ways very few people can. I will bless his name for the rest of my life.

While I was packing I discovered a piece of paper with a list of questions I jotted down a few months ago. It reads:

Why did Mom have to leave?

Does God really know me?

Does He really want what's best for me?

Does she, meaning you, miss me?

Although I don't know all the answers to these questions I believe God does know the desires of my heart. I have prayed, since the day I lost you, I would have this opportunity and it would happen on your birthday. Despite everything, God has provided a way and, honestly, I still can't believe it. I have not felt this much hope and true happiness in a long time. My only wish is that you could be there by my side. That when the work was complete I could throw my arms around you and we would both squeal and jump up and down like we used to do when we were happy or excited. Instead I will try to imagine you and Nancy doing what we would do if we were together; if I were with you.

Like my trip to Savannah, this trip, for me, will be about you. Stephanie, Sarina and I are driving up to Jackson Hole Saturday morning so we can see the Teton mountains; your favorite. I can't believe all the years I lived in Utah I never made it to Jackson Hole. Since you and Dad spent so much time there I have been curious to see it. I also wouldn't mind meeting someone while I'm there; a cowboy who looks amazing in a pair of Wranglers would be nice. I don't know how much pull you have up there but I've been REALLY good for a year and living like a nun is getting old. Not asking for much just a little, harmless, fun.

I love you Mom. I told Dad on Sunday there isn't anything I wouldn't do for you or him. I miss you so much it hurts; hurts like hell, but I know this separation is temporary. That one day I will see you again and you will still be my Mother and I will be your daughter. I wouldn't want it any other way. Until then...

I love you forever-


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Jessie said...

Hi, this is Jessie Boardman. I don't know if you remember me from Richmond ward or if this is a blog that is to personal to comment on. But this is the first time I have visited your blog and the first post I have read. I felt the spirit so strongly while reading it that I am near tears. I remember your mom fondly and can't imagine how hard it has been for you. But as you mentioned temple ordinances and wishing she was there I got the strongest feeling that she will be. I don't know what my feelings are worth but I knew I had to share that. I know your trip will be wonderful and memorable and will bring you closer to your mom. I hope it is ok that I wrote this comment.

Boo said...

Of course I remember you Jessie. On behalf of Stephanie and in all sincerity I welcome you to our blog and invite you to read and comment anytime.
Thanks for sharing your feelings with me. I don't really know what to expect but I sincerely hope she's there and I will be closer to her in that moment than I have been since she passed.
We'll see.

lisapants said...

What a wonderful birthday present for your mom! I am so happy that you get to do this for her. Much love and hugs to you, Amber!

Kate said...

Have a great time in Utah. I'm sure your mom is just so happy!


Desiree said...

Amber, I am so proud of you. I am so glad this is all working out. I'm honored and excited and humbled to be albe to be there with you for most of it. I love you and I'm so glad that it all worked out just as you'd hoped. I know Heavenly Father loves you and loves Janice. It's going to be an amazing day. I love you!

Sherpa said...

Been thinking of you today.
Love ya tons!

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