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Letters About Literature National Winners 2017

National Honor Winner, Level 2: Madison A. Kelleher

Dear Robert Munsch,

Maybe if you look away from the world for a while things might be less agonizing. As if you refuse to accept it, it will go away into thin air, and it won’t pester your mind and your body. Then, the once full life will return. Sometimes, you cannot escape from the feeling and you are forced to face it head on. Even though Love You Forever was a short children’s book, it brought me back my full heart and showed me a path that was once covered by bushes. Your magical ink and paper supported me through white hospital rooms, graveyards and those days when it is just hard to breathe.

During my mother’s life she was strong inside and out, but when death neared her, her body weakened. She had trouble standing, let alone preparing meals and solving conflicts in our household. In your story, when the mother took care of her son through all stages of his life, I remembered the times my mother helped me through homework, friends, family, and most importantly, life. I cannot count how many times she picked me up when the glass below my feet shattered. That is why I knew I needed to take care of her when she couldn’t do it herself. When I eased her pain a little, I remembered the mature son assisting his mother when she couldn’t help herself. In a way, I could relate to the son. After all the imes my mother took care of me, I felt that she deserved the same, and your book showed me that.

There is one thing I know for certain about my mother: that she will like me for always. If I ever need to be reminded of this, I just flip open your soft pages and echo your words through my head. This reminds me that whenever I make a silly mistake, or even a big one, my mother is still watching over me, maybe even laughing at the way I handle curveballs in life. I don’t need my mother’s voice to tell me that I will never disappoint her because I have your words. This shows me that when things don’t go exactly how they are planned, the ones who remind you that you will never fail them are the ones whose love will never fail you.

I often ponder what “I’ll love you forever” means. Does it include death? Does it include cancer? Does it include tears, chemo, peeling skin and weak bones? I now realize that it does. Throughout the story, the mother’s love never wavers, and my mother’s love never did. It really does include death and cancer. She may not be here with me, to hold me, love me and tell me everything’s alright, but she is in everything I do, everything I am and everything I want to be. So thank you, thank you for showing me that type of love will never end.

All in all, the cold reality of death may have knocked on my mother’s door and showed its ugly teeth, but Love You Forever helped through the good, the bad and the worst. Even though pain can shine through cracks in your body, you handed me some tape and glue and said, “You are not alone.” I sometimes wish with all my heart that my mother could see me accomplish goals in life. You showed me that I do not need her right next to me because some love, including a mother’s, is undying and always forgiving. I thank you, once again, for leading me every day closer to the light, to my mother.

Madison A. Kelleher