Dear Sean

I’ve seen her stand in a funeral line, shaking fifteen hundred hands. I’ve watched her work pitiful jobs, just to raise dimes for her children. I’ve heard her cry in the bathroom with the door shut.


I’m getting married on September 9th.

My old boyfriend of twenty years took his own life, I lost everything. I still have pain. But I really want to move forward with my new husband.

Can you give me some advice? I want to be the wife he deserves.

I understand if you don’t have time to answer,



I am in a hotel room. Hurricane Irma is swimming toward Florida and we are heading the opposite direction. I have waited until today—your wedding day—to answer your letter.

Listen, I don’t do advice, but I can tell you about someone I know.

She was like you. Young. Smart. Pretty. Her husband swallowed the barrel of his hunting rifle and left her entire world black and blue.

I won’t tell her story because you’ve lived it.

You already know what happened to her. She wasn’t the same. She didn’t eat the same, sleep the same, think or talk the same—her posture even changed.

Once upon a time, she stood straight and confident. Afterward, she slumped.

Tragedy will do that to you.

But this woman has stamina. She’s seven kinds of strong, by God, and sweet. She is made from one-hundred-percent heart-muscle, unsalted butter, and powdered sugar.

I’ve seen her stand in a funeral line, shaking fifteen hundred hands. I’ve watched her work pitiful jobs, just to raise dimes for her children. I’ve heard her cry in the bathroom with the door shut.

She met someone recently. A good someone.

They started doing fun things together. They walked the beach, they went to hear live music. They danced.

This woman hasn’t shaken her tail feathers since the Nixon administration.

Death has a way of making you quit dancing. It makes you hate good and bad things alike. It cheats you. It tries to step on your chest and take your breath. It makes you afraid of the dark.

But she’s dancing.

Not long ago, I asked how she was getting along.

She smiled and said, “Oh, fine. I can’t explain it, but I’m not afraid anymore. I’m just happy all over, don’t know why.”


That woman is my mama. And I’m glad she doesn’t know why she’s happy. She doesn’t need to waste time thinking about whys, hows, buts, maybes, if-thens, or what-ifs.

And neither do you. Because today you’re walking the aisle. Today is flowers, music, and white clothes.

I hope your hair and makeup look just the way you want. I hope your family stands with you. I hope you get a glimpse of your life from a nice angle. I hope you get a letter from a ignorant redhead.

I hope this god-awful hurricane disappears.

I hope you see a groom, waiting at an altar. I hope you see his eyes when he sees you. I hope it sends a jolt through your bones.

I hope you forget all about all gaping holes inside you. I hope you feel God.

I’ve heard it said that time heals all wounds. I don’t believe that. If you ask me, time doesn’t heal a damn thing.

Love does.

Congratulations, sweetheart. You picked a fine day to get married.


  1. robert henderson - September 9, 2017 12:58 pm

    Dang it Sean, that one mafe grab a tear or four…

    God bless your mom, and all of you be sage.

  2. robert henderson - September 9, 2017 12:59 pm


    You would think I would be better at proffing my typing.

    Big Thumb Issues.

    • robert henderson - September 9, 2017 1:00 pm


  3. Connie Ryland - September 9, 2017 1:02 pm

    Jeez. So many tears. God bless you and your mom and this sweet woman getting married today.

  4. Constance Ridgway - September 9, 2017 1:11 pm

    Beautiful day for a wedding! Congrats!
    Irma take a hike away from land!

  5. Judy - September 9, 2017 1:45 pm

    My favorite part…”I hope you feel God.” The Best!

    • Marty from Alabama - September 9, 2017 5:41 pm

      What’s not to like about that statement??

    • Marsha - September 9, 2017 8:20 pm

      “I hope you feel God”….love that.

  6. Nancy - September 9, 2017 1:46 pm

    What a beautiful letter for the beautiful bride-to-be. Congratulations to Moving Forward! Praying for you and your new life!

  7. Diane Pate - September 9, 2017 2:01 pm

    I’m hoping to get happy again. Just taking it as it comes. Life does that to you.

  8. Jan Johnston - September 9, 2017 3:10 pm

    So glad to have known your mom, and even gladder that she was able to move on, find that special someone, and have a happy life again.

  9. Leia Lona - September 9, 2017 3:33 pm

    Time doesn’t heal wounds. Love does. I have lived this, thanks Sean

    • Todd - September 9, 2017 3:56 pm

      I agree Leia. That was the best statement in Sean’s letter. So true.

    • Mary Ellen Millis - September 10, 2017 12:04 am

      Leia you are correct. Sean nailed it.

  10. Alyson - September 9, 2017 4:09 pm

    Beautiful….Just Beautiful❤❤

  11. Gunny - September 9, 2017 5:24 pm

    I pretty much heart you, Sean! Thank you for your carefully chosen words. They make the most eloquent thoughts uncommonly simple and make the simplest thoughts exceedingly eloquent.

  12. Marty from Alabama - September 9, 2017 5:39 pm

    Just tell me one thing, my favorite red-headed southern guy: How did you pack so much wisdom and just plain old walking around good sense, in such a short life? Of, and I hope you live forever.

  13. Tawanah Fagan Bagwell - September 9, 2017 7:04 pm

    This is right on! Perfect answer to her question.

  14. Gina - September 9, 2017 7:24 pm

    Love your wisdom, Sean. Take care during this hurricane.

  15. Melanie Howell - September 9, 2017 8:31 pm

    Agh!!! You made my mascara run❤️

  16. Jack Quanstrum - September 9, 2017 10:51 pm

    Amen! Shalom!

  17. Pamela McEachern - September 9, 2017 10:59 pm

    For the new bride, happiness and love. For your amazing mama, I hope you dance. Happy trails

  18. Melanie Tighe - September 10, 2017 1:06 am

    Sean you are a saint. To the young lady on her wedding day…dance. celebrate. cherish. kiss. hug. embrace all that is magical. you deserve it sweetheart.

  19. Michael Hawke - September 10, 2017 2:46 am

    May God bless you.

  20. John Reasons - September 10, 2017 5:57 am

    Thank you for writing.

  21. Steven Porter - September 10, 2017 12:51 pm


  22. Cathy - September 10, 2017 3:17 pm

    This touched my heart today..

  23. Melodie - September 10, 2017 4:58 pm

    Oh, WOW! What a story. Your no advice, is great advice. I know some people who are going thru the loss of someone, as we all do. Cancer, suicide, old age…You’re right, time does not heal, but time does give one an opportunity to finally embrace their old love, with good memories, and their new loves to create more.

    Thank you, Sean for this post.

    It’s a good day for a wedding and a hurricane. See how strange things are?

  24. Billy Joe Nunn - September 12, 2017 5:16 am

    I really enjoy these postings. I look forward to anytime you come to The Place for a Jazz Society performance. But most of all I look forward to the way I feel after reading your postings. Thanks for the good news amongst all the depressing.

  25. annie - September 26, 2017 1:19 am

    Thank you

  26. Marion Pitts - September 26, 2017 11:47 pm

    Love is all we need! And God, too!


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