Dear Om-Mah

So Young’s mom died in her 50’s, back in November 1999. There are similarities between So Young’s death and that of her mother. Both were too young. Both died of brain-related issues — So Young of a brain tumor and her mother of a series of strokes. Both were cared for by their husbands during their last days and gradually lost mental capacity and the ability to care for themselves.

A few nights ago, I found this in an undated diary entry that So Young wrote after her mom died.  I cried the entire time I was reading it, because I realized that how So Young dealt with the death of her mom was teaching me about how to cope with her own death. I also see reflections of my own regret, sadness, and hope in  So Young’s words. I can imagine my own girls saying some of these things about their mother when they are older. I hope that this is a blessing to you, as it was to me.

Mom I can’t believe that you’re gone. That I will have to wait before I can ever see you again. Will your hugs and kisses be the same as I remember? Will your embrace be as warm and soft and nurturing? I miss so many things about you. I miss calling you Om-mah. My soul aches that I didn’t visit you the day before you passed over to your eternal home. I should have come that day, that Wednesday, to wish you well, to tell you once more of my love for you. But somehow I know you knew all about it. You know how much I love you and that you love me and will miss me too. I shouldn’t have let my sore throat keep me away. I shouldn’t have let my denial of your deteriorating condition stop me.

This past year was incredibly heartbreaking. I felt that you weren’t the mom that I knew, that I remember. Dad did too. I wanted to preserve my memory of you by shielding myself from the truth of your illness. It was so mysterious and frustrating. I didn’t know what was wrong. I always suspected it was stroke. I sincerely apologize for my selfishness. I should have been there for you more regardless of how much it hurt to see you that way.

I thank God that I saw you on Saturday the 16th to celebrate Shannon’s tol (first birthday). It wasn’t the same without you. Although we never got to eat the meal that Dad cooked for us, I’m thankful that I got to see you and spend some time looking through Shannon’s tol pictures. I’m thankful that I sat and talked to you, held your hand. I’m glad that I got to kiss you and hug you and say goodbye that day. I never knew it would be the last.

Om-mah pray for me in paradise where you are, pray for Dad and your family. Help us release our guilt for all the things we should have done, but never took the time to do. Deep in my heart I feel that you did appreciate what we did do. Deep down I know that you simply appreciated who I was, your first-born daughter.

Did you feel the same sense of awe and wonderment holding me as a baby, as I do holding Shannon? I must have brought you such joy and peace. Mom, Shannon reassures me that everything is going to be OK. She smiles at me and has unceasingly hugged me the past few days. I almost feel you smiling at me in her smile. How comforting it is. Thank you.

I will raise your granddaughter in the ways of the Lord. I will always let her know that she means the world to me. I’m far from perfect. James is a little more than I can ever be. We will raise her in love, in discipline, according to God’s command. We will raise her up hearing stories about you, her grandmother. She will know that Grandma was an incredible woman, with a heart unlike any in all the earth.

I want to thank you for loving me all these years. It seemed so short. I can’t help but wish that we had more time. We will have all eternity to make up for the time we missed.

I especially thank you for being the answer to my prayers. I prayed for a long time that God would change my parents’ heart to receive James. Did you know that He used you to open up the door, to break down the barrier? Yes. This one prayer of mine was answered through you. Thank you for loving James from the very start. When Dad saw your love and acceptance for him, it was easy for Dad to be at peace with my decision to be with James. Without your help, I wouldn’t have sweet James by my side. He is the answer to your prayers and Dad’s. I know you prayed since the day I was born that I’d marry someone as wonderful as him. I know with all certainty that God brought us together through his will. We will do great things together. You challenge me to be a better wife. I want to be the kind of wife you were to Dad: loving, patient, kind, never boastful or self-seeking, always trusting and persevering.

Mom, can you tell God that I’m thankful for his love and for answering my prayer? God said that whatever I ask for in prayer, believe that I’ve already received it.

It was frustrating praying for you those months, because you only seemed to get worse. I never realized how God’s power was working to answer my prayers. People may say, “How did He answer your prayers when she never got better?” But I realized today that He has, and in a mighty way.

I prayed that God would restore you and give you perfect health. Now you have health more perfect than ever, and you are restored beyond what you once were. God said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8).


14 Responses

  1. This is so precious and timeless. Thank you for sharing, James.

  2. There is nothing more that can be said, this says it all.

  3. Thank you for postin this James. This was bitter sweet to hear. It is so hard losing two of the most important women in my life too early, but knowing that So Young knew where her eternal home was is comforting to me. I know that they are together now catching up and that is a comfort to me. They were taken early because they were ready and they had fulfilled Gods purpose.

    • I was just thinking that too, So Me. I went to the grave today. I was really sad about So Young, but when I went over to Mom’s grave, I really didn’t have much to say, because I was happy for her. Now she has So Young with her. I’m sure she is really enjoying that. But I have been reflecting also on how you lost these two women and how sad that must make you feel. I’m sorry, So Me. We have consolation in the fact that they both lived beautiful lives for Christ.

      • James, i agree. The girls are probably chatting it up. Probably talking about us right now. I still have the rest of my family, including my bros 🙂 it’s strange how differently I view death now. I don’t think it gets easier losing someone close but it makes you realize this life is not the end; rather, there is so much more waiting for us in Heaven.

  4. Just…wow! Thanks for sharing this.

  5. I love these stories and insights…I’m actually very humbled by it all.

  6. Dear James,
    How kind of God to have given So Young you so early on in her years, to pack them full + encourage each other through thorny paths + raging torrents. I was just looking @ Luke 6:46 + following where Jesus explains the irreplaceble utility of having a foundation built on knowing + walking w/ Him.
    It sounds trite to say, but So Young is one of the glowing examples of “it is not how many years one lives, but how much life one lives in the life one is given”. Of course she wanted to do more on earth b/f she relocated to the place of Christ’s immediate presence, but clearly, from your post, she understood it was not something to dread.

    I heard a very seasoned Pastor say, “When you were born, you cried + the world rejoiced. Try to live your life in such a way walking w/ Christ, that when you die, you will rejoice + the world will cry”.

    O know all of this like sandpaper on delicate skin + I am so sorry, James. Please know that you + your family continue to be upheld in prayer.



  7. Thanks for posting this James. Such a sweet and thought provoking testimony on many different levels. So Young’s words… Some would say that God’s voice is inaudible, but I know differently. We just have to tune our ears to hear. I think that God may have spoken to you first, thru her words, then to me as well. Thank you sharing.

    • I don’t think I know you, but I wanted to let you know that the song you posted a few days before So Young’s passing has been very meaningful and significant. “His Glory Appears”. I played it for So Young a couple days before her passing and told her you posted thi (I think I saw James post your name somewhere as Chris?). I believe the words touched her that day and it gave her peace to move forward. I wanted to say thank you. It has also helped me through this difficult time to bring me encouragement. So Me (SY’s sis)

      • So Me, yes, my name is Chris, I met James through my worship blog. He and I have exchanged encouragement on this page and mine on several occasions. Thanks for your kind words, they mean much!

  8. James thank you so much for sharing this beautiful and powerful letter from your beloved So Young.
    Mrs. Ryan

  9. I also want to thank you James for posting SoYoung’s letter, a big time. I remember thinking, over and over again, how beautiful person her mother, my sister-in-law, was… She wasn’t that talkative, but her gentle actions spoke louder than the words… so loving and supportive, always thinking of others first than herself… Her daughters’ personalities are like hers…She did a beautiful job raising her children… I miss them…

  10. I read this 2 days after the “anniversary” of my own mom’s death, 18 years ago, and it expressed so many things that I have thought but have been unable to articulate as beautifully as So Young did. Thank you for sharing this oh so personal writing. The strong faith that you and your family have gives comfort to those of us whose own faith sometimes wavers. God bless you all.

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