A letter to honor my mom this Mother's Day : Teresa Neil Welch (1947-2003)
The inspiration that comes in remembering is as powerful as seeing a painting you love. A mother has that kind of power. As sisters we discuss and remember your silly dancing and laughing, your determination, and pure strength to survive amidst life's heavy storms. You taught us so much I don't even know where to begin. God created you with a purpose, and we are part of that as your children. My character, weaknesses,strengths, and talents were shaped by having you as my mom. When I ran on the trail yesterday I remembered how passionate you were about life. Speaking to women recovering from addictions, giving away clothes to the poor, and making friends with anyone and everyone. One tradition we've carried on is to buy each other Christmas pj's. And of course we're keeping fresh bouquets of flowers for you each season, just like you asked. I admire how often you emphasized traditions and family gatherings. There's no one to take your place and that's not bad. A gift that I treasure is having had time with you to say goodbye. Taking pictures, singing, talking about anything other than the "c" word. (cancer) It's been seven years since we've talked, but somehow it feels like you hear my heart anyway. God has used your life to draw me closer to His son. The season we walked through with you and your suffering has taught me so much of Christ's power and strength. I still ponder the idea of writing a book about our family. Or even childrens books about your adventurous childhood. Did anyone else have baby alligators, goats, and monkey live in their backyard? Life is an adventure and God's brought me to amazing places to share the love of Christ, just like you thought He would. I feel at home in my heart among the poor because you taught me so early on to love them as family. I saw the compassion in your eyes and the generosity you had towards the poor. It wasn't until you were gone I realized how much I observed the way you loved strangers. The love of Christ compels me to do the same. I hope to one day have the ease and comfort you had, as if you were helping a dear friend in a time of crisis and saw hope just up ahead. As God writes His words and love in my heart, he also unbinds the ties that hold me to this place. I know this is just a small portion of my destiny. The hope of eternal life and seasons without pain. There's no doubt in my mind that you filled heaven with a shout and danced with the angels upon your arrival. Thank you for the deep care and love you gave me and my sisters...and for pbj sack lunches everyday in elementary school, wonderful home cooked dinners, McDonald's Happy Meals after track meets, teaching me, treating me like a princess, opening our home to all my friends, telling your stories, not holding back your laughter, sharing your poetry from high school, your love for nature, your determination, the passion for family, interest in history and antiques, ability to solve problems in life, your patience, honesty, generosity, your friendship, and especially your encouragement and support. You are forever in our memories and hearts. You will always be a part of who God is shaping us to be for His glory. Thank you for cheering me on through life and telling me about the greatest treasure on earth, Jesus Christ. He is the fullness of life.
Happy Mother's Day!
I love you,
(To support a cancer survivor or honor a loved one consider running or biking with Team in Training)