An Open Letter To My Mom

May 10, 2014
The Eve of Mother’s Day
An Open Letter To My Mom,
It will be 15 years at the end of June since you have left your worldly body. I know some might say things like: “my heart aches each day for the emptiness and lack I feel each year she is not here to celebrate Mother’s day” or “it feels just like yesterday that you were here, I miss you so!”
In 15 years a lot has happened in my life. My children have grown into teenagers, they eat a lot. They drive me nuts at times, not turning their jeans” inside right” before they throw them into the wash! My husband and I are still married, who d’a thought! He is my best friend. I have been challenged in more ways than I ever thought possible-Yes, even more than losing You when I was 29 and you were 50. I’ve gotten fat, we have another dog.
But perhaps the reason my heart doesn’t ache every day, every holiday, ever sad Mother’s Day without you is because… well, I guess I made a choice a long time ago, not to let it. Oh, don’t get me wrong, through the years I have had my moments, my wailing cries, asking God “Why Me?” Why MY Mom?! I have been pissed when I can’t just call you up to ask you about that recipe or where those pictures are? I want so badly to tell you about what Mimi did or how well she is doing! I have been envious when I see my friends with their Moms still in their life and feel angry that you are not.
But you know all this, don’t you? You know about the times I have wept and felt furious at the loss of You. You know about the pool we put in and that my “real” father died. You know my life is blessed, but far from easy.
I know you don’t wonder how I know this and it isn’t our little secret. I feel you Mom. I feel you in the wind on a warm summer’s day. I see you in the Tiger Lily’s on the side of the road. I smell you from the fragrance of an old worn book. I hear you in a song on the radio, and I SEE you at night in my dreams….
Mom, I wish you were still here in your body to share Mother’s Day with me. But alas, I know you were tired and it was time to shed that old skin and stretch your wings into lightness and love, where there would no longer be pain.
So tomorrow I shall celebrate you, My Mother, with my own Motherhood. I will be grateful for my sons and my husband, and one day where maybe, just maybe I won’t have to do laundry! I will feel the warm breeze of spring on my face and smile with lightness in my heart! I will listen for songs on the radio that spark a memory or a feeling that reminds me of you. I won’t be sad, or sorry for the loss of you, I will feel gratitude for having you as MY Mother for as long as did. I certainly wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for you.
But you already know all this, don’t you? Happy Mother’s Day Mom! May you continue to be ever present in my life until we meet again someday!

172048_1701493691800_2654571_oShirley Ann Woodward

My Mom



I went to dinner the other night with one of my oldest friends.  We have been friends for 31 years. We have been through boyfriends, babies, crazy families, mental illness, marriage, cancer and death in those 31 years. That is a lot of life lived. It occurred to me after we had dinner  that it is almost as if we went to war together; only she knows what our childhood was like and only I know hers-truly, truly knows and let me tell you it was alike war at times. Oh yes, we had some wonderful times and opportunities and created cherished memories. But we also shared some experiences that I wouldn’t wish on anyone and I dare not even mention them here at the sheer horror of it all. Sometimes I cannot believe we made it out our our teenage years alive with the stupid decisions we made, but we did-just barely and not unscathed. We were parenting ourselves. We had no one to guide us , and the ones who tried we didn’t listen to. We were pretty young girls with a need for acceptance and desire to “fit in”, not unlike every young girl today.

But we are older now, 42 and 43 and have lived much life. We are wiser now (most days) and stronger still than we dare to believe. But if I could have a conversation with my 16 year old self I would tell her to stop worrying about “fitting” in and march to the beat of your own drum and don’t waste another minute on concerning yourself with what others think of you. I would tell her to remember the  dreams you had for yourself to be at age 11, because that is probably where your passion lies when you are an adult. Trust your instincts, think big and out of the box, dare, try, fail. Try again.

When you are 12 and you have found a “Best Friend”, you have absolutely no conception of what being friends for 31 years looks like. It is just about writing notes and going to the Mall on Friday nights. (Oh wait my friend’s Mom wouldn’t let her go to the Mall on Fri nights;-) You have sleepovers and call boys on the phone, dress up in crazy clothes and walk the neighborhood.  But then something happens, and it is in the blink of an eye-time happens, life happens, happiness and heartbreak happens and you find yourself looking back on 31 years of friendship shared some years in different states yet still shared.

It is an extraordinary thing to have friendship with a person that is 3/4 of your lifetime. I feel so very blessed to have shared so much life with my dear friend. She knows all of my deepest, darkest secrets, my joy and my sadness and loves me anyway. We spent a childhood together that at times was not easy, but we never would have made the lives we have made for ourselves now with out each other, and for that am grateful.


8th Grade Auburn Recreation Football Cheering


My Own Yoga Room

photo (14)I have dabbled in doing Yoga for years. I first bought some VHS tapes and tried to do it at home. That didn’t last long. The YMCA that I have a membership to started having Yoga classes several years back so I did a few here and there. I can honestly say I never really “got it”. I always felt like I wasn’t getting a “real” workout. I wasn’t sweating my ass and at the end of class I was supposed to lie there and do nothing. That was the hardest part of the damn class-my mind works on overdrive all the time, I must do, go, constant-I don’t “BE”, very well anyway. I stopped going. 

Then two years or maybe three I started back and hit the Yoga really hard. Aside from the weird breathing and noises this one instructor had us make, I was liking it and feeling like I might be “getting it”. Then life happened as it always does, and sidetracked me away from doing something good for me into doing for others. Ahh life of a Mother!

But this Fall I decided to try Bikram Yoga in a town about 25 minutes from where I live. Bikram is Hot Yoga: .   I really liked it but hated it was so far away and decided I enjoyed more of a variety of Yoga. But I loved the Heat! So I decided to turn a room off from home office into a Hot Yoga Room. I filled the two windows with Styrofoam  to keep the heat in, painted the walls, bought two heaters and humidifier and decorated. And Voila’-My Own Hot Yoga Room! I purchased a Bikram CD but prefer these websites: My Yoga Online and I love this Gal! I use my room about 2-3 times a week and also attend Yoga and Pilates at the Y on other days. I think a real live community is important for my Yoga/Fitness/Health experience as well.

Yoga room flags yoga photo (13)And Me after Hot Yoga!

photo (12)So I have found my workout-the peace, clarity, strength and the sweat!