Letter to Betty
It was 14 years ago today that you died. Unreal how quickly time has passed and it's overwhelming to think of how much had changed.
I'm sure you have been watching from heaven as Emily and I welcomed Finley to the world. In fact, I have a feeling you have had something to do with that! We waited for what felt like an eternity to be parents. And yet God was faithful. He always is faithful. We prayed for a child and in the meantime he taught us patience and trust. We begged for parenthood and instead he strengthened our relationship together. And in the end...we were made stronger and also trusted to care for our daughter. I couldn't imagine a better gift.
But be honest with me, mom...how the heck did you manage to raise 2 kids on your own? I am, at times, left to watch Finley alone for more than a couple of hours and I can have a tendency to feel a bit overwhelmed. There's never a break. And you raised Tanya and me...on your own...while working 2-3 jobs...and you were the most positive person on earth. Goodness, you had something special. I really miss that...
I've been thinking about you a lot lately. Maybe because today is the anniversary of your death...or maybe because it's been hot out - and that triggers one of my favorite Betty Hatch stories. Amidst your second cancer battle you put on shorts and went to the grocery store...with your urine bag hanging out of your shorts...swaying side to side as you walked the aisles of Hornbachers. You didn't care what other people thought, but instead you simply wanted to enjoy the day that God gave you. Incredible - and funny!
Dang it I miss you. I wish you could spend time with Emily and Finley. They'd love you so much - and I know you would deeply enrich their lives as you did to everyone you came in contact with.
But most importantly, I want you to know that I am radically in love with Christ, just as you were. I watch Emily pray with Finley every night...and I know that my wife and our family are passionate about our faith, just as you were.
The older I get, the more I realize that nothing else really matters. We can have riches and we can have abundance around every corner - but without Christ it just doesn't matter. Real wealth and riches come from Jesus. YOU taught me that. You were the richest person I knew. You fought to stay above the poverty line with finances and yet you oozed wealth with your spirit and faith.
Forget cancer. Forget no child support or 60-70 hour work weeks. Forget a small apartment and Payless shoes. Forget just getting by...as credit card bills pile up. Mom, you taught me about real riches and wealth. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
I pray I'm 1/2 the parent you were. I pray Finley knows Christ because she sees him in me (just as I saw Him shine through you). I pray that heaven is awesome for you, and that you occasionally take a break from sipping on a Margarita and eating a taco salad to smile down on us. I pray that you laugh and coo just as you used to. And I pray that when I see you again that your urine bag is gone (cuz that's kinda gross).
I love you, mom. I miss you so much it hurts. But you left me as a man with unmeasurable wealth because of Christ in my life. I can't thank you enough.