Love Letters For Mumsy

Your love letters are miraculous…but you are the true gift.

December 25, 2010

A little more than a year ago as I was preparing to undergo Deep Brain Stimulation surgery for Parkinson’s disease, my daughters Megan, 13, and Molly, 16, planned and hosted a party for me. They called it “Mumsy’s, If I Only Had a Brain Party”. They invited family, and friends, old and new. More than sixty people showed up that cold December night during an unexpected snow storm.

It wasn’t so long ago that I believed I couldn’t have scared up more than a handful of friends and never did I dream there would be so many who would honor me in the beautiful way I am about to describe.

At the party, the girls placed a journal on the table along with a note that said, “This is Mumsy’s Keepers Book. Please sign it, write a few words of encouragement, or even a love letter so that she can have something uplifting to reflect on during her recovery.” That journal was overflowing with expressions of love that were instrumental in my recovery from brain surgery.

My girls kept the journal from me until I was in the recovery room following the surgery at Georgetown University Hospital. My neurologist wrote in it, along with my surgeon, and several of the O.R. nurses. They certified that I indeed had a beautiful brain, because they had actually seen it! To this day, my DBS journal encourages and inspires me. When I face challenges, I often leaf through it and read something I’ve read many times before…only to discover a new life lesson or a message that I somehow had missed…and then I pray for the person who wrote the words of love. Saying, “Thank You”, just never seems to express my gratitude adequately.

After an incredible year of stillness, the tremors have returned on my left side, and I am about to undergo surgery again. First, let me say that I have no fear. I am ok with this because of my unshakable faith in God and his plan for my life. No matter how large or small the challenge…either you trust him or you don’t. It’s that simple. I choose to trust him…so no fear. I decided a long time ago to let God be God.

The exact date of the surgery has not yet been determined, but it will probably take place before the end of January. My doctor suspects a manufacturer’s defect in the wiring, because the computer found indications of three possible disconnects in my system. The doctors were unable to locate the breakages on X-rays that were taken. The first step is to have exploratory surgery, and hopefully they’ll find the broken wires and reconnect them. If the surgeon is unable to locate the disconnects during that procedure, I will be released and rescheduled for brain surgery soon afterwards, at which time the whole system will be removed and replaced by a new one. Personally, I want the entire system to be replaced with a new one. There is no guarantee that a break would not happen again, but whatever stressed the wiring to the point of disconnection may have weakened the whole system…just my opinion.

Several weeks ago I posted a note on facebook concerning Christmas gift giving, in which I said, “ If you're trying to think of the perfect Christmas gift for someone special in your life (like me) write a love letter...a gift worth more than anything money can buy!” I know from experience the intrinsic value of this gift of love. It truly is worth more than anything money can buy.

Not only did I post this unashamed request for attention on facebook, but I asked many of my young friends, aka keepers, (or boll weevils as Mike likes to refer to you), to return all of those expensive gifts that you bought for me (LOL presumptuous of me I know) and write a love letter instead. To my complete surprise and delight, when I opened my last Christmas gift this morning, I found a brand new journal…complete with more than fifty love letters…many from friends, teachers, school administrators, but mostly from my young friends, aka keepers, (or boll weevils as Mike likes to refer to you).

This may sound trite, I know, but I really can’t find the words to adequately express my humble, heartfelt, gratitude for every single letter. I had a good cry this morning as I read each letter with profound awe and amazement. I often get kudos for my love for young people. I assure you that this is not my doing. I know it is a gift from God. Yes, my heart and home are always open to kids, and for the most part you could say I am non-judgmental…and nothing really throws me anymore. After all, I’ve survived brain surgery…right? I think I can handle a little teenage drama. The truth is…I am so in love with each and every one of you. God has placed you in my life and on my heart for a reason…and without a doubt, I get more than I give.

In addition to the love notes I referred to, I get unsolicited hugs and kisses, fist bumps and high fives, daily texts of Scripture verses and words of appreciation, uplifting emails, phone calls, prayers and laying on of hands for healing, sharing of hopes, dreams, activities, and secrets, Mumsy couch confabulations, open access to my kitchen to anyone anytime, sleepovers including Mumsy Tea, lasagna, and smoothies, interest shown in (aka, toleration of) my obsession with cross stitching and cross necklaces and Jacks, help getting across the street whether I want to go or not (jk LOL), shaved heads in solidarity of my surgery, and even one who got a matching tattoo with me (thank you to my buddy Cypress).

Giving up a little of my time is no sacrifice at all in relation to the measure of pure joy you give in return. Besides, if I ever feel the need to share a story or a lecture (and all of the adults have escaped my grip (aka, run screaming from the room), I just load a gaggle of teenagers into my van and give you a ride to the mall, and voila…a captive audience!

It is during these times that the Holy Spirit prompts me and the life lessons start pouring out and spilling over. It’s always good to see your faces in my rear view mirror…hopefully listening and taking notes for future reference. It is when I see that you are applying these life lessons, that I am eternally grateful to a God who can take a tangled mess like me and use me for his Glory. I am astounded. You often come to me for help, advice, or simply some reassurance of your worth…and that’s easy…you are my Keepers…you belong to me…and you are priceless! Your love letters are miraculous…but you are the true gift.

Love you forever,




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