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Stepping Forward
by Lynda Lee Schab 
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Amy sat down in the grass, pulled the blanket around her shoulders and looked up at the sky. The gray clouds matched her mood. For a moment she regretted not bringing her umbrella but she had the blanket to hold over her head if she had to. Amy turned her attention to the reason she had come: the letter. She pulled it from the envelope and her own crooked handwriting stared back at her. She began to read.

Dear Mom,

This is the second hardest day of my life, right behind that awful day three years ago. I've cried so much in the past few weeks but today the tears won't come. I almost feel guilty for not crying, you know? Like I'm not sad or something. But the truth is, my heart is so heavy it feels like it's about to fall out and onto the ground.

I miss you so much! I miss sharing my day with you. I miss arguing about stupid things like the way I style my hair! I can still hear you say, "why hide that gorgeous face behind all that hair?" and then you would brush it behind my ears. I promise I would leave it tucked behind my ears if only I could feel your fingers against my face again.

I know you're with Jesus now and you don't hurt anymore. But sometimes I ask God why He needed you so much. Doesn't He realize I need you more? Especially now - I need you so much today. Of course, this day wouldn't be happening at all if you were still here.

Dad thinks you would have liked Shelly. I'm ashamed to admit that for the first few months they dated, I acted like a spoiled brat, not even giving Shelly a chance. But then I found myself warming up a little. Sometimes she even reminds me of you - her smile and the way she laughs at Dad's corny jokes. She tries really hard to be nice and we get along okay. But this is such a big step. It's like he's replacing you with her and there's something not right about that.

But Dad says no one can ever replace you. He says he'll always love you in a special way because you were his first love and the one who gave him me. I watched Dad go through each grieving stage: Sadness. Denial. Crying. Yelling. Banging his fist against the wall. He dealt with his pain and now it's time for him to move on. My head knows this but my heart is retaliating. I don't want there to be room for anyone else in Dad's heart but you.

Most of all, I think I'm afraid that if I welcome Shelly in, somehow the memories I have of you will fade into the background, overshadowed by her. What if I forget the way you smelled? The warmth of your hugs? Your beautiful face? Your infectious laugh? What then? Will I go to bed one night and realize I haven't thought of you once that day? I don't think I could bear that.

But I know it's time to let go. Not of you but of the pain that encompasses me each and every day like a blanket wrapped a little too tightly around my shoulders. I feel secure in my little blanket of pain. But the problem is that it restricts my ability to move freely. And I know you, above all, would want me to move forward and embrace all God has for my life. And I can't do that if I'm holding on to the blanket.

It was actually Shelly's idea that I write you this letter to let you know that just because Dad is getting remarried, it doesn't mean we love you less. Shelly will never be my mother. That position has been taken by the most special, unforgettable woman in the world. And although you will be forever etched on the largest portion of my heart, it's time for me to carve out a tiny spot for someone else.

But please know there will never be anyone like you, Mom. I'll love you forever.

Til I see you again,


Amy set the letter on the tombstone and looked up at the sky, just as the sun poked its head through the clouds. She dropped the blanket and smiled. It looked like it might turn out to be a beautiful day for a wedding after all.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Beth Muehlhausen 22 Jun 2005
This definitely grabbed me and held my attention all the way to the end! It spoke to me of the human condition: pain, and the desperate need for healing. When we try to cope, our suffering sometimes ends up managing us. When we release our pain to the Lord, He resurrects it into hope. This story says this so well!
Amy Verlennich 15 Jun 2005
I loved this story. Also a powerful testimony on how writing can help heal and bring closure. Well thought out.
Linda Watson Owen 13 Jun 2005
Lynda, this is such a beautifly bittersweet story! Thank you for sharing your talent with all of us at FW, and thank you for encouraging me!
Joanne Malley 02 Jun 2005
That was simply beautiful! My daughter has been Amy for the longest time when her grandmother remarried after her grandfather died. She thought her grandma was replacing him. When she's old enough, she'll realize there is no replacing special people in our lives; only filling the empty whole.
DeAnna Brooks 01 Jun 2005
How perfectly this captures, Lynda, the heart of most anyone having lost a love one. I know it does mine. It will be seven years this July since my 15 year old son finally saw Jesus face to face ... The blanket, the fear of forgetting ... of remembering, of no longer feeling the hug that nearly cracked the ribs are all too real. Thank you for the special way you've shown the beauty of going on. Not forgetting, just moving forward...into more of God's grace...until the 'see you soon' becomes a joyous reality. What a powerful portrait of the comfort we find in God. Thanks so much!


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