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A letter to my mom… 4 years later

I started writing a letter to my mom near the anniversary of her death.  Here is my latest…

Dear mom,

I guess it is true what they say, “time really flies when you get older.”  Older is definitely what I am getting.  I cannot believe that in just a few days I will be 49, which means the 1/2 century will be next!

I must say that the past year has been a pretty good one for me.  I have really enjoyed living in Donetsk.  I love living near Pushkina Boulevard and taking walks in it, especially during the summer and fall.  The ladies who take care of it do such a great job.  They work so hard and I know that they receive such little pay, but they do their jobs pridefully and it shows!

I have found a couple of cafes in town that I enjoy as well.  I have gotten to know Marat, who manages one of them.  He is into training and has shown me lots of photos of his training.  Since he works until 9 p.m. much of his training begins after 10 on the local playground where he lives.

Probably the biggest enjoyment I receive is going to the Shakhtar football games.  The team is pretty good and I sure enjoyed watching them go far in the Champions League, losing to the eventual winners.  I like to invite different people to the game so that I can “visit” with them on the way to and from the game.

I would probably eat out more, but there just aren’t many places that don’t cost a fortune.  McDonald’s is here, but isn’t one of my favorites.  They have great ice cream, but I don’t need to be eating much of that!  The other restaurants tend to be near $20 a person, so I don’t do that very often.

The flip side to this is that I have learned to cook more often at home and really enjoy inviting people over for meals.  There are a couple of brothers who are students in town and they are like my own sons.  They come over at times and one of them is always asking what I have to eat!

It is hard for me to believe that you have been gone 4 years.  There are still Sundays that I want to pick up the phone and call you.  I am so thankful that I was with you those last 2 days you were physically on earth and am grateful for my supervisor at the time, Don, for encouraging me to go home to be with you.  Little did we know that you would die 8 days after being diagnosed with cancer!

Unfortunately, I have learned the hard way that you can never say “I love you” enough.  I miss calling you and hearing your stories (although Aunt Velma has picked up the slack in that somewhat!! LOL).

Until next year…




  1. Hi Joe, What a sweet letter, you Mom would have enjoyed it. did you know that our Mother’s were friends? Your Mom shared some recipes with mine and I remember her talking about your Mom.

    I’m not so good w/geography…where are you? I Hope you are well.

    God Bless,

  2. Lepha,
    Thank you for writing. I’m sorry I didn’t respond sooner, but Gmail put your response in my spam folder and I didn’t see it until today. My mom loved to cook (especially baking) and she loved to share her recipes.

    I am in Donetsk, Ukraine (far southeast UA, near the Azov Sea and the Russian border. I am blessed.

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