My dear Mama Leigh,
When Justin barely could walk or talk, you came into his life like an angel sent from above to be his mother. With each fever, each first day of school, each booboo that needed a band aid, you were there. With the struggles faced during the teenage years, first day of high school, prom, and graduation you were there. With each time he needed advice and guidance into the right direction, you were there. With each time he wanted to take toys apart you were there more than likely shaking your head and saying “Justin! Justin!” Turns out, you had to do a lot of head shaking into his adult years J But, there was never a doubt how proud you always were of your son. You defined motherhood. You helped bring him back during his car accident, never ONCE giving up on him…making sure he had another chance to live. You always said you were scared at that time and always have that fear and you can’t help but to baby him. I never understood at that time, thinking to myself he is a man, not a baby or someone laying in a coma. But, in time I learned to understand because Justin always was and always will be your baby boy. Then I think of the wedding day and how proud you looked as we took our vows. I remember the day we told you and Cecil that we were pregnant with Kaden which was on your wedding anniversary. You had such excitement and joy! And the day Kaden was born, you were by my side as if I was a daughter to you, stroking my hair and telling me and Justin how proud you were. And just looking at your own son with such pride and joy! Then with Kody, I remember being so scared to tell you that we were going to have another baby. I still don’t understand why I worried so much, but you were thrilled. I giggled when you hoped for a granddaughter but was still just as excited with another grandson. And once again you were there for the birth of Kody…doing the same as you did with Kaden. I remember how proudly you spoke of Justin when you saw him carry Kody out to the waiting room and how much you were upset you forgot your camera. But, the image I have in my head is a beautiful image of a mom watching her son carry his son.
My heart, however, is so full of regret. In-laws commonly have their differences, but I know there were so many times I was just a, well, a bitch when you were just being a mom and trying to get me understand that you were looking out for Justin. And turns out for me as well. I still feel like the way I was so many times, although we always worked out, that I don't deserve to be sad. I feel like I don't deserve to feel this empty spot in my heart. The past two years were amazing and memorable between us, but it should have been ten years of amazing and wonderful. Justin and so many say that you knew I loved you. That I thought of you as my second mama. Still, just wish had that one more day to tell you. Instead, I make a silent vow that I will watch over your son. I will handle his heart with care because I know how fragile he can be. With each klutzy move, I will be sure to shake my head and smile :) I will wipe away his tears and hold him close. I would like to say to please don't worry, but as a mother the worrying just comes with it all. Something else I should have said to you.
Leigh, you were an angel who graced the lives of many. You had incredible strength, independence, beauty, a sense of humor, and most of all patience. From the stories you told me about Justin and Valarie growing up, I so greatly admire your patience and strength. Your spirit is living within both your children as well as all three of your grandchildren. An angel that graced the lives of many, taken so soon, but is now an angel looking down on us with an expression of pride and joy.