The first Christmas without Mom was hard to say the least. My Mom loved Christmas…I think 90% of the attic was full of Christmas decorations. Losing Mom was completely unexpected. It shouldn’t have happened, but it did. The last thing we did as a family was decorate the house for Christmas…we had to go on and celebrate, if only for her.
The day was incredibly difficult, but we had something to focus on, my nephew. This was his first Christmas and we were determined to enjoy it. After Mom had died, we found that she had already done a bit of Christmas shopping (mostly for her first grandchild of course). So, the morning of Christmas, my sister presented those few gifts to us. Hard moments.
There were 2 gifts under the tree that neither my sister or myself recognized. One for each of us. As we opened them, tears started flowing. I looked to my Dad. He explained that he had found these in the back of their closet. I stared down at the beautifully bound book and opened it. It was a book for a mother to fill out about her life…about her own parents, her marriage, her children, and so much more.
It was empty.
She meant to fill out out…but she didn’t know how short her time would be.
As I’ve looked over that book the past few years, I realize I don’t know some things about my mom. Silly things, important things, sentimental things. You think you know it all until you can’t ask. Did she experience morning sickness when pregnant with me? I wondered that as I was sick for 5 full months! But, I couldn’t ask.
I have a daughter now. She never knew her Grandma. Knowing full well that life is not fair and doesn’t always turn out as we hope, I have begun to fill out that very same journal my mom left me. I now fill it out for my daughter.
It was one of the best gifts Mom ever gave me.
God forbid, if something unexpected takes me away from my little girl, I want her to know who I am, my beliefs, my silliest moments, how I fell in love with her Daddy, how I made it through the darkest days of losing my own mother, and my best advice (and recipes too)! I hope she’ll receive it when she’s old and gray. And I hope it’s one of the best gifts I ever give her.
Mother’s Day is coming up and I hope most of you have mothers to spoil with gifts and love. And if you have children of your own, please think about preserving for them something they’ll treasure forever.
Here are a few: (affiliate links)
A Mother’s Legacy: Your Life Story in Your Own Words
There are also journals for Dads and Grandparents too.
A Father’s Legacy: Your Life Story in Your Own Words
A Grandparent’s Legacy: Your Life Story in Your Own Words
It’s in question/answer form with plenty of space to write. It’s still a work in progress for me, but I try to answer to a few questions each week.
Patricia (hobby) Sims says
While such a sad experience, it was wonderful to hear your expressions of love for your Mom which I never doubted. I believe I remember us buying those books together. She was indeed a wonderful lady, friend, co-worker, cook and traveler who was an inspiration to me. God bless your family, Tricia
vickie couturier says
I remember how hard that first Christmas without mom was,but the next year was worse,,my little brother passed away 11 months after mom passed,,wow,this was extremely hard
I can only imagine Vickie. We lost my mom and my grandfather within 3 months of each other. Incredible hard to have hits that big so close. ((HUGS)) to you!
April V says
I love this!
April V says
I absolutely love the idea of getting these filled out for their grandchildren! What a special gift..
Oh, I’m so glad April! 🙂 It’s a treasure for sure!
Thank you for writing this post and helping all of us mom remember that we aren’t immortal and we need to share the love we have for our kids and preserve all those memories while we can. I will be picking up this book and starting it this weekend!
A Frugal Friend says
Oh wonderful Leanne!!!
Shannon Zyjewski says
Pumpkin Buttercream is my fave!!
Hannah Gardner says
When my husband left for Afghanistan literally days after our daughter was born, I gave him A Father’s Legacy in case he had time to write. Thankfully he came back safely, but it’s still nice to have that book!
Carol L says
As I sit here there are tears rolling down my face because last June I gave my own Dad one of these on his birthday. He told me he was going to take his time and fill it out. This past September he passed away unexpectedly. Just two weeks ago my older son came over and handed me the book and thought I’d want to have it. But when I opened it it too was empty. I know many things about his life and childhood but there are so many I don’t. I should have asked him if he’d had a chance to fill it out when he had it and was still here.
This very fact is why I too am filling one of these Legacy books out for my daughter. Life is too short and these memories are wonderful to have to pass down. Thanks for sharing this with us. 🙂
I found these legacy books one shopping outing long ago. One Christmas,we finally received them back as a gift and oh what a gift it was! Five years later, when my mother-in-law passed away, a copy was sent to all her children. What a treasure! My dad was killed in a head on car accident one beautiful April 1st before he filled in his legacy. Although, we talked daily, his generation just did not share many thoughts with us. I often wonder how they made it in the great depression, or if he remembered my great-grandmother who was full Cherokee. Did he speak their language? What was the happiest day in his life? It is important for all parents and grandparents to share their lives before tragedy or illness takes the opportunity away.
Tracy Hall says
Gave these books to my parents and my husband’s parents right before my daughter was born. I received the completed book from my mom a few years ago, and my dad gave me his completed book this past Christmas (it was my favorite gift!) I have loved reading their stories; some I had heard before and some were a surprise. I will always treasure these and will one day pass them on to my children. My husband & I have also begun legacy books for our children.
This made me cry. I just went over to Amazon and bought one of these for my Mom. I know she will love it! Thank you for sharing.
Mandy Burkett says
Oh, Debra… tears are streaming down my face as I read this post. As I’ve told you before, my mom and I are best friends and spend every day together. We lost my mom’s mother almost 4 years ago. She was our 3rd wheel and the anchor of our family. I can so relate to wanting to ask her questions. Me and my mom both find ourselves wanting to know things and aren’t able to ask. Thank you so much for sharing this book! I plan to get one for me and my mom.