The Biggest Thank You of All.

She’s already everywhere, but still. I just want to hear her voice. The voice to which I couldn’t listen so many times. Now I ache for it. It’s all so silly and potent and poetic and tragic and magical. This is my thank you note to my Mama, Judi, for giving me all of it. 

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Dear Mama.

Thank you for being the first place I ever knew.
Thank you for the gift of being with you on this Earth, and thank you for my magnificent life, for the privilege of watching you work, and try and cry, and thrive, so much of the time.

Thank you for helping me understand empathy. And how to listen for my deepest sympathies. Thank you for reminding me to use my listening to see.

Thank you for teaching me to take time to look, and to attune, to the impossible beauty of the clouds, the sunsets, every exquisite moon, and thank you for helping me be silenced by the grandeur of our greatest Mother, Nature.

All the flowers, those hours you’ve spent tending to those babies out there – I’m now more clear in my own caring just from witnessing you. Thank you for teaching me to value humility, and for setting the stage for a life of truth, valor, eagerness, and beauty.

Thank you for lending me your light when I couldn’t find my own. Thank you for being my example of home, of family. Of all I’ve ever known about being real – for myself, for anyone else.

And thank you for giving me a stellar sister, who’s showing me how to raise a man. Watching her son rise and take us all with him has helped me see who I am, and who I want to be as a mother. Thank you for inspiring me to make a boy of my heart, at nine years old such a privilege, this daily art of giving his wisdom good voice, and letting his strengths be his choices.

Thank you for teaching us all how to be kind. Generous. How to be more deeply present for everyone. Thank you for forgiving when we couldn’t find the words for a proper reconciliation.

Thank you for being Anthony’s unprecedented place to land; for being the feeling of home for this magnanimous man, who’s benefited so deeply from your capable, loving hands, and ears, and eyes. Thank you for holding him so dearly, and thank you for helping me see him so fully, and so clearly through your eyes.

And thank you for giving him, and James and Bentley, the sweetest kind of love. It will be passed along to our boy in ways we can never know.

Thank you for teaching me to take responsibility for my learning, for moving me to chase clear knowledge, how to rise above what I perceive to be unfurling – and thank you for pushing me to excel through whatever I’m enduring. Thank you for the finest context I could’ve ever asked for, filled with warmth, and family – thank you for teaching me style, and how to stay close to my personal integrity. Thank you for living now in my heart, my hands, my words, and my mind, and thank you for watching over me for all time as a witness to my readiness.

And thank you for filling me with awe and wonder whenever I forget.

Thank you for being so proud, for bragging about me, for sharing me.

Thank you for knowing me, and for growing up with me.

Thank you for deeply getting me.

Thank you for granting us the medicine of dignity in setting you free so quietly.

Thank you for the unconditional, unequivocal love.

Thank you for reminding me that what I am will always be more than enough.

Thank you for being Daddy’s lighthouse – the ultimate, consummate matriarch. Thank you for making notes of gratitude your highest art and miracle.

Thank you most of all for prioritizing us, your people.

Yours will forever be the most perfectly un-fillable shoes to fill.

I love you Mama. Love you. Love you. Thank you.

25 thoughts on “The Biggest Thank You of All.”

  1. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your journey moving through this. I have been thinking about you, loss, and life recently. “Plugging in” to send you and your family much love.

  2. Beautifully said…..sitting here crying. As I said before, it’s been many years since I’ve seen all of you, but through the magic of social media, I’ve been able to keep up with you and the family.
    When I left NY 27 years ago, you and your sister were quite young, but have both turned into beautiful, strong, amazing women. I’m so proud of both of you!
    You are so lucky to have the love and support from such a loving family.
    I want to tell you to “be strong,” but it’s obvious that you’re already doing that!
    Please take good care of yourself and the family.
    Your moms loss is a void that can never be filled, but will get a little easier with time.
    I’m sending lots of love to all of you. Please give your dad a big hug for me!

    With lots of love & hugs,
    Adam (Harold, HO, H)

  3. Helene Kangisser

    Dear Elena
    How beautiful
    My dad passed away suddenly 23 years ago when I was only 22!
    My precious mom passed away in 2010!
    I just want to send you my best thoughts and prayers.
    I find that one learns to live with the loss but the longing and missing of the person stays with you!
    I do also feel my parents around me and it is as if they walk with me and my family!
    Sometime the anger is there!
    But I always feel grateful and privileged to have had my two special people as my parents!
    Lots of love and light
    Helene

  4. So much wisdom and magic..your heart as open as the rose. Sharing this enriches our lives. Thank you.

    I would love to practice with you, but these wise gems will hold me. So sorry to be out of town in March when you’re here in LA though.

    Love and grace to you and your dear ones. XO

  5. This made me cry and it made me want to write one to my mom, now, while she’s still here. I’m going to do that thanks to you. Thank you for sharing this and for always being such a steady, encouraging, elevating presence for all of us. I hope you are finding good comfort for yourself right now in these days. RD

  6. Elena, this is beautiful! Thank you for sharing this personal note. Your mother sounds like an incredible person and she must be so proud of you.

    This was actually a really important reminder for me! I often find myself so caught up with work that I forget how much support I get from my mom. In fact, I’ll call her now and give her my biggest thank you.

  7. Profound gratitude for your sharing. And complete love in your time of loss. I have the opportunity right now to share like this with my own parents, my father very sick, my mother too strong in her wise and wonder of her years. Only love. And deep resonance.

  8. Impossible to read without crying, and thinking of my own Mama. Thank you for sharing these beautiful words. Sending you love.

  9. So beautiful. I will hug my mom tighter than ever and appreciate her physical presence, more than ever. The time we have is always so very short. Thank you for this powerful reminder.

  10. evelyn (Lalli) delvalle

    so so beautiful Elena. the heartfelt honesty, humility and vulnerability in your words always, absolutely an inspiration to continue this movement towards the greatest freedom and love of the Self. may your momma rest in the peace and light and love of God <3

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