Dear Mom, I've Always Wanted You to Know
by Lisa R. Delman

Perigee, 2005. ISBN 0399530797.
Reviewed by Trilla Pando
Posted on 07/06/2005

Nonfiction: Faith/Spirituality/Inspiration; Nonfiction: Creative Life

I see a lilac, smell chocolate-chip cookies baking, hear a certain tone in my sister's voice, and I miss my mother. Emotions flood back. Things we shared that I ache to share again. But there are new feelings as well. Things I never told her. Feelings we never shared. How I wish I could tell her. Tell her the new grandbaby is on the way. Tell her the other children are fine. Tell her that I have lived longer, seen more of life, and I understand more. I have changed. She might have as well.

I am not alone. Lisa R. Delman has tapped into the deep need of many women to share deep feelings with their mothers, or to enunciate them, even knowing that the mothers are not there to read the words. When Delman's own mother lay near death, she realized the depth of her feelings. Fortunately, her mother recovered. Delman wrote a series of letters telling her mother all she had learned...

"By writing to my mother instead of about her, I was able to see reflections of myself and become accountable for my part of our relationship. As I embraced her challenges and triumphs in a compassionate way, I was graciously able to accept my own humanity."

Taking her new knowledge, Delman set up an Internet letter-writing contest encouraging other women to write letters to their mothers. She received more that a thousand entries. from all over the world. Many of the letters appear in this book. Letters that concern not only grief and disappointment, but also courage, gratitude and love. Some are written and have been shared with the writers' mothers. Others, such as mine, were delivered only through the heart.

This is a good book to browse. The variety of letters—in each section, prefaced by Delman's commentary—will evoke familiar feelings and help each reader to enunciate her own. The book closes with "Ten Ways to Open Your Heart to Your Mother," a useful guide which Delman says will lead you to the right place. "The rest will follow."

To learn more about Delman's work and her on-going letter writing contests, visit her website.

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