Dear Ashley,

I am sitting at the Mobile airport headed to Chicago on a business trip. As I do every week, I use this time to read your wonderful paper — which I would not miss! So glad there is a stack at the airport.

I also eat the airport’s delicious grits, which will not be the case when I reach Chicago. We all know that Southern staple is not there in plentiful supply, if at all.

Today you truly had this near-60-year-old lady in tears because you took me to a place I have been just like you (Hidden Agenda by Ashley Trice, April 28, “There is no such thing as loving someone too much”). I lost my mother at age 15 and have experienced periods of time where I can think of her and smile, even laugh. And I move on in my thoughts.

Other times I am reminded of her Cajun temper when I would smart off — her response included a few choice French words unknown to me but obviously in her repertoire (most likely to keep her from losing it with me).

Then, some memory creeps into my mind (usually connected to something with my three grandchildren and spoiling them) that just opens the tear reserve and they come trickling down my cheeks. That’s what happened this morning — it went straight into my grits.

I think of what mom did to make all five children feel special even though my four siblings were much older than me. She still made my brothers’ favorite pies every other Sunday and no one could cut the pies except the brother for whom it was made in the first place. Can we say the boys were her favorite or what?

But my most vivid memories are mom with my 14 nieces and nephews … who each thought they were her favorite; she convinced them they were. There were always cookies in the jar and little bags of “penny candy” for each one to take home (don’t you know my sisters and sisters-in-law appreciated that).

As Mother’s Day came and went, just know that I have received the best gift this year: reminders from your personal story that you provided me as well as many other readers. And that is simply a beautiful thing. Thank you.

Rhonda Neal Waltman


Ashley,

Beautiful. Thank you for writing that! I am 56 (and) lost my mom at 30. I had a 5-year-old and 7-year-old. I am living in Idaho, but here in Mobile for emergency health reasons for a wonderful 30-year-old son. He is very appreciative for my help and extended stay here … thank you. I will share this article with him and many, many friends in the future.

Connie Gill


Ashley,
I have never felt more moved to reach out to a journalist as I do now. Your Mother’s Day article was written exquisitely. Simple and wonderfully worded on how a daughter feels when she has lost her mom at a young age. I am 42 now and lost mine when I was 16 to breast cancer.

I am extremely blessed to have known her for 16 years and that has sustained me throughout all the ups and downs of adulthood. I just wanted you to know how wonderful it was to read your words and relate so completely (even down to the smell of the bakery at Gayfer’s!). I have come to realize that I am not alone and am part of a large population of women who have been dealt this hand. Thank you for sharing your insight.

Charla Bagwell


Ashley,

I just read your piece on Mother’s Day. It was one of the truest and most beautiful things that I have ever read and I just feel compelled to let you know and to thank you. So, thank you.

Edmond Naman