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Logan StoryCorps: A son remembers

Todd Thomas at his April 2023 StoryCorps mobile recording appointment in Logan Utah. Todd smiles gently into the camera. He is balding with a white trim beard. He wears dark rimmed circular glasses .  He wears a half zip black jacket with blue ribbing along the zipper placket.
Todd Thomas at his April 2023 StoryCorps mobile recording appointment in Logan Utah.

Todd Thomas remembers his mother.

TODD THOMAS: Mother's Day '94 I had mailed some pictures to my mom of myself and my two children and I waited a few days and I called her from work to see if she had received the card and the photos. Well, she had. And I anticipated a scolding because when I pulled out of that driveway two years earlier, I was a brand new Brigham Young University graduate. Short hair...

In those two years time, I had changed my outlook a lot. My hair was now down to my shoulders, I had a full beard. She knew what was going on in my life. And she had been my phone call, my vent recipient, my cheerleader through all of this divorced stuff. And so she knew I was in a dark place. Coming from a very conservative hometown where you didn't grow your hair out, you didn't wear facial hair -- and there I was, in all my glory. Well, she wasn't happy. Mama Bear really scolded Baby Bear. She let me have it. "I sure hope you don't come home and walk down Main Street looking like that. I'd be embarrassed."

My dander was up. I was already raw. And I immediately barked back. "Well, I guess I won't be coming home then unless it's for a funeral." And I hung up on her. And it was 24 hours of pure guilt. that day wore on. The next day were on. The following night, I came home from work and my message machine was blinking. And it's my sister in law's voice saying "Todd please call me." So I call her back. And she'd said it's your mom. And she then described the events that had happened earlier that day in a little town called Richmond. She was coming home from errands here in Logan and drifted across the center line and hit another car head on.

My mom was gone. And the last thing I'd said to her was "I'm not coming home unless it's for a funeral". I hung up on her. And it was the worst time of my life.

While I was home, a particular friend of my mom's came through the viewing line and pulled me aside and said, "Todd, I talked to your mom that morning. And she told me about your phone call. When she got home that day from running errands, she was going to wait for you to be home from work and call you and set things right." Well, she didn't owe me an apology. But I certainly owe one to her.

The next day, I went up to Mom's truck. On the bench seat right next to where she was sitting w ere those photographs. So I realized I was with her when she died. I was sitting right on her right hip, just like I'd probably done as a toddler. And that helped.

But I didn't sleep much. And one particular night, in my sleep, I had a dream. And this wasn't the ordinary nonsensical, bizarre dream. I call this a vision.

In this vision. I am standing on the highway at the very spot where she was killed. And I'm looking at the surroundings, the mountains, the park that's right there. And I turned to my right when there stood my mom. And I said, "Mom, what happened?" Because none of us really knew the details. And she looked at me and said, "Son, I just got so sleepy, I'm so sorry." And then I woke up, I got up, sat on the balcony of my apartment and processed all of that. And the conclusion that it gave me was that something medical happened. And for some odd reason, that gave me more comfort than not knowing anything. And so I feel like Mom coming to me like that. And just one sentence: "I just got so sleepy. I'm sorry, son" started my healing and it took years. The soul heals as the body heals. But slowly. While I'll probably be healing the rest of my existence, when that day comes that I do see my mom, I will apologize to her. But I'm not scared. I got things to do here, but I've got things to do there too.

You know, the very famous quote, a mother is a son's first true love and a son is his mother's last true love. And that's how I feel about my mom.

Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.
Check out our past StoryCorps episodes.