Therese Mary Paderta – Twenty-One Years

The following is a continuation of the collection of my thoughts about Mom, beginning with these past posts:

A new chapter of this journey occurred recently. On Sunday, October 6, 2013, I sat on my couch, watching the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Monson began to speak about the recent passing of his wife of 64 years, Frances Monson. Almost instantly I began to cry. One of the gifts I have recently been given is a deep sense of empathy. Just like my heart went out to Dad when Mom passed, I had given my heart to President Monson.

I had not watched that video since that October morning until the very early morning hours of today, after I had arrived home from the Holiday Party. I was in in great shape. I had just had an incredible evening with wonderful co-workers, great entertainment, and a very young lady. Understanding the significance of today’s date and what this talk meant to me the first time I watched it, I knew I had to view it again. Twice again this afternoon I pondered the words of President Monson.

Earlier today while at Church I brought my burdens to the Lord. This will be the first time in years that I have spent December 15th alone. This recent change in my life has brought with it much pain and despair. I have fought the recent chain of events. I would not stand for the idea that I was again single. I would not accept that all my hard work of saving my relationship was in vain. Two weeks ago I finally felt a warm fire in my heart telling me it is okay; it is alright to be single at this time. This is a time to work on preparing myself for my future wife instead of looking for her.


This is exactly what I was given today in Church. I felt a wonderful inspiration to move on with my life. This brought back one of the greatest memories of the passing of Mom.

In 1992 I was a sophomore in high school. I was more the quiet type. I was not a go-getter. I was picked on by others. After losing Mom, I knew this was not the life I wanted to live. I had chosen to become more of an outgoing person. I was no longer afraid to go out and meet new people. If anything, it has become a huge blessing that this change in my life had occurred; just think about how many people I have been able to touch in the years since!


I am now at another one of those crossroads. I am always so good at saying the right words to others. It is time to accept my own wisdom and follow it for once. Living in the past takes up our time obsessing about the things we cannot change and filling our lives with shame. Worrying about the future is just trying to control something that is not yet within our grasp. The only thing we can do is control our controllables. The only thing we can control is the present, the now.

The present can heal the past. The present can bring about a brighter tomorrow. The present is our gift that with which we are blessed each morning as we wake up here in this lifetime.

From December, 1992 until May, 2012 I spent my life in regret. I wished I had spent more time with Mom. I wished I was nicer to her. I wished I had used kinder words with her. I wished I had spent more time with her. I wished I could have influenced her to live a healthier lifestyle. I wished she would have never passed away. I wished I could bring her back!

This morning, as I was preparing myself for Church, I felt the warm feeling of the Spirit come over me. It had told me that Mom would do anything to spend another day with me. What a sweet message of hope, happiness, and peace! This is proof of something I have been saying for some time now.

Although most people might not be able to understand this, I have been blessed with a wonderful gift in recent times. I had spent 15 years, 10 months, and 19 days on this Earth with Mom. Although for over 19 years I had felt so empty, a major change has come over me. I truly feel closer to Mom than I ever did when she was here in this life! I also know that this is not the end; in due time I will be able to be with her forever, even after this life of mine on earth is through.


I used to spend so much time finding the faults in the ways I didn’t love her well enough. I used to search out her imperfections. It was so easy to just blame her for my problems. She left this life. It was easier for her instead of dealing with the life she created for herself. It was my heart that was cold. I had learned to have a heart of war.

Now I love her for everything she did for me. Mom blessed me with so many incredible qualities. My loving, caring, compassionate personality has always been there; it’s just so much stronger now! She never got rid of things; she never threw anything out. That taught me to cherish every memory that life has to offer. Although she was imperfect, she had a beautiful heart. I have since dedicated the rest of my life to honoring this wonderful woman.

Letting go of these pains has freed me. It was not easy. I do not have a play-by-play instructional manual on how I did it or what you might have to do to find this same peace that I so treasure. What I can tell you is that loving her for who she was, despite and even because of her imperfections, is what has brought me true peace in my heart.

I smile as I complete these writings. I love you, Mom! I love you more than ever! I am grateful for the closeness that I feel to you this very day. Twenty-one years is a long time without you, but I will continue to walk in love, thanks to the love you continue to show me!


Love always and forever,