Dear Mother…

George Hayward

Dear Mother,

They say that when a daughter marries that you do not lose a daughter, you gain a son. Well, when I married your daughter over 35 years ago, I didn’t just take a wife, I gained a mother. As I look back over those years at all the love you showed not only me, but also everyone in the family, I marvel at your capacity for giving. To realize that during all of that time never once did you criticize me or say a cross word to me is truly remarkable since, as Lord knows, I gave you plenty of cause. You made every one of my small successes seem like a super important event, as you had that ability to make us all feel good about ourselves and our accomplishments because you were sincerely proud of all of us.

I have learned so many things from you mother, and have so many fond memories of times we have shared together. We have walked on the beaches of Oregon together, danced on the deck of a cruise ship in the Caribbean and watched a sunset in Mexico, not to mention the many wonderful visits to your home where everyone was always welcomed with warmth and love. I have watched you accept a crayon drawing from a grandchild as though it were a painting by Rembrandt, or a special rock found and presented by another from a grubby little hand and cherish it as though it were the Hope diamond. No matter how small the gift, you always made the giver feel that you had just received a valuable treasure and it was just what you always wanted.

I know my official designation is son-in-law but I could not love you more had I been your son, nor did you love me less. How typical of you that last day you were able to visit with us, even though you were at that time in great pain, you were concerned about me thinking that I wasn’t feeling well because I was quieter than usual that day. Then when I was feeling sorry for myself thinking of losing you, you gave me an extra hug, a kiss and told me that you loved me. I know now that you were telling me goodbye.

Everyone has a different concept of what comes after death, but I have to believe that somewhere in a special place you and dad are listening to this letter. That dad is getting ready to take his sweetheart out dancing as he used to love to do, and this is the way that I will remember you. I won’t keep you any longer from your date but will close with love.

Your son-in-law,


February 19, 1987