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Just One More Letter

By Janet Seever

During the night of an ice storm in March 1957, my baby sister was born.
While Mom was in the hospital, my four-year-old sister and I, a
ten-year-old, stayed with our paternal grandparents. My nine-year-old
brother stayed with our maternal grandparents.

When the time came for Mom to bring baby Sharon home from the hospital,
we were excited about going home as well. However, my sister and I
started developing red spots . . . measles! The only way we were allowed
to see our baby sister for the next two weeks was by walking on the
hard-packed winter trail across a cornfield, going to the back of our
house, and peering through the bedroom window.

Mom would tear an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper into quarters, and write a
personal note to each of us every day. She would slide the bedroom
window open far enough to pass the notes out to us. I delivered my
brother's note to him on the school bus the next morning and carried my
notes in my pocket.

Those quarter-page notes were the first of many letters to come in the
following years.

After graduating from high school in 1964, I moved from a small town of
2,000 to Minneapolis, seventy miles away. As a country girl, I found the
city overwhelming—there were no wide-open spaces and the houses were too
close together for my liking. I missed the lake near our home and my
family. The University of Minnesota, which I attended that fall, had
40,000 students. It was many times larger than our entire town.

Mom's weekly letters, my source of encouragement, would arrive like
clockwork. I would write my letter on Sunday, she would receive it on
Tuesday, and her reply would be in my mailbox on Thursday. Often when I
had a tough day in class, Mom's letter would be waiting for me.

She wrote of ordinary things—what my dad was doing on the farm; who had
gotten married, joined the army or had a baby; what my brother and
sisters were doing; which elderly person at church had died; how her
large garden was doing. Often the letters were written late at night,
while she was finishing a batch of beans in the pressure cooker or had a
kettle of tomatoes boiling on the stove. On more than one occasion, a
spatter of tomato juice landed on the letter. "It's midnight now," she
would write, "so I guess I should head to bed. I'm falling asleep while
writing this."

After university, I worked at various jobs—in a medical research lab, as
a teacher, and at a community college. One constant throughout that time
was my mother's caring correspondence.

After I got married, my husband and I went overseas to do mission work
in Papua New Guinea. I was so lonely at first that I would dream of
being back home, only to wake up and find myself half a world away from
all that was familiar. In 1977, personal computers didn't exist and we
had no telephone, so letters were the only means of communication for
the next four years. Mom's letters were my lifeline, my connection with
home. By this time, my brother and two sisters were also away from home,
so she was burning the midnight oil, as she would put it, writing to my
siblings as well.

She now numbered the front of each envelope to make certain each one
arrived safely, and surprisingly enough, they all did. It took two weeks
for the letter to reach us, and two more weeks for my reply to get back
to her. This was particularly worrisome when she had exploratory surgery
for colon cancer. By the time the letter telling us that she would have
surgery reached us, she had already had the surgery (her "grand
opening", she called it), and it took another two weeks for us to learn
the outcome! It turned out to be polyps, not cancer.

Our mission work eventually took us to the Philippines, Australia, and
Dallas, Texas. In the late '80s, I began saving Mom's letters, knowing
that someday she wouldn't be with us. I had no idea how soon that time
would come.

My dad passed away in 1989 and we moved back to the U.S. in 1990. After
twenty-six years of weekly letters, Mom and I switched to talking on the
telephone more often than writing.

Then in the spring of 1992, Mom came down with a mysterious illness.
After many trips to doctors and courses of antibiotics, she only got
worse. The whole family was with her in intensive care on a June evening
as Jesus called her Home. I was holding her hand as she slipped away.
She was sixty-seven.

There would be no more encouraging letters or phone calls. Later I found
nearly 200 letters from her that I had saved. Sometimes I would find a
letter tucked away in a dresser drawer or as a marker in a recipe book.
Nine years later, while cleaning out a storage shed, I even located some
of those original quarter-page well-creased notes from 1957.

If I could write just one more letter to Mom, this is what I would say:

Mom, thanks for the unconditional love you showered on my siblings and
me. You treated us all equally and had no favorites. Thanks for making
do with so little when we were growing up. We never realized how poor we
were materially, because we were rich in so many other ways. Thanks for
your example of courage, faithfulness and determination as you lived out
your life in situations that were often difficult. Thanks for making the
time to write letters when you were too tired and too busy. You'll never
know how much they encouraged me. Thank you for always providing a
listening ear to your family and to many others. I thank God for the
privilege of having you as my mother. Your grateful daughter, Janet

© Janet Seever 2006

Write Janet and let her know your thoughts on her story!

The mother of two adult children, Janet lives with her husband in Calgary,
Alberta, where she writes for Word Alive magazine. She has had a variety
of articles and short stories published in magazines and on Internet. You
can find more of Janet's writing at or
you can e-mail her here:


Thought For The Day:

"The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet."

Verse for the Day:

"I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content." -- Phillipians 4:11

Kid's Thought For The Day:

"Dirt is only considered bad when it's not on the ground."

Parent's Thought For The Day:

"A mother is neither cocky, nor proud, because she knows the school principal
may call at any minute to report that her child has just driven a motorcycle
through the gymnasium." -- Mary Kay Blakely

Coach's Thought For The Day:

"It's not true that nice guys finish last. Nice guys are winners before the game
even starts. -- Addison Walker

Writer's Thought For The Day:

"Don't say you were a bit confused and sort of tired and a little depressed and somewhat annoyed. Be tired. Be confused. Be depressed. Be annoyed. Don't hedge your prose with little timidities. Good writing is lean and confident." --William Zinsser

Deep Thought For The Day:

"The great thing about living in a small town is when you don't know what you're
doing, someone else does."


Inspired Audio -- Inspirational Audio Message of the Week!

Inspired Audio is a brand new offshoot of  Every week we will offer a different audio message that you can listen to right on your computer as you are surfing the net or just getting things done around the house.  Be sure to come back and visit each week!   

This Week: "The Greatest Story Ever Told" by Author Michael T. Powers


Over 80,000 people have listened to popular Chicken Soup Author Michael T. Powers' free inspirational message entitled: "Breathing Life into Others".  If you aren't one of them just visit: and click on the link to listen to the free streaming audio message!


Video Imagery --Michael's Video Production Business

Dear Michael,

I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the beautiful video you made for me! It was so special to see both of my parents in tears as they watched their children grow up in pictures before their eyes! I loved the way you made Estania's part set aside from the rest--that was the part that really got them! The music was beautiful. My mom kept blubbering, "What song is that?" I don't know how you did such a beautiful job with the video in such a short time. I really appreciate your doing it so quickly. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank God that you are using it to create such sentimental memories. I hope that I can find my niche like that in an area that I love. Your video gave us one of our most lasting Christmas memories! I hope yours was filled with moments to be treasured forever!
Silverhill, AL

Let me make you a video from your photos!
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