Happy Mother’s Day
Sunday May 10th 2009, 5:55 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

First, happy Mother’s Day to my Mom, a superbly kind woman who deserves the very best every day and always.

Next, a story…

When my oldest went off for her freshman year of college nine years ago, one of her classmates went off to a campus in California.

From where, two days later, his parents got the call no parent should ever have to endure. A frat. A hazing.  Alcohol.  And their son was gone, just like that.

There was a huge outpouring of the community here at his memorial service, filling the local Children’s Theater where A. had performed, growing up.

There was nothing I could do in the face of a loss I could not begin to comprehend, this child who had survived leukemia as a toddler when so few did, this young man who’d volunteered with childhood cancer patients at the Ronald McDonald House to give hope to their parents as a survivor, this child who was supposed to LIVE!

Doing nothing was simply not fathomable.

So a lace stole came to be, in dark navy, soft kid mohair the color of midnight when the stars are faint–yet there. Black seemed too much; I wanted to hold out the promise of a lightening to come, someday and terribly far off but no less real, while acknowledging first the depth of the darkness. I wanted to give his mother a hug to wrap around herself when it was just too hard to take. Which was every single day.  And I knew it.

And then I prayed to know when to take it to the boy’s mother, E., whom I knew but not well.  I didn’t feel an answer to my questioning; the thing sat there for several months. It bugged me.

Then came the day when, as I had done many a time before, I said that prayer asking again, feeling like I was nagging God or something, when the answer came as a sudden emphatic feeling of NOW!

Oh! It was Mother’s Day and we were just about to sit down to lunch–could it wait till later?

But the feeling of Now! was so emphatic that I dropped everything on the spot, apologizing to my family for ditching them this day of all days, and ran with it halfway across town.

A.’s father was outside and told me E. was taking a nap, but he would give the wrapped present to her.   …Meaning that E. wasn’t put on the spot having to appear grateful while trying not to burst into tears; she was able to absorb my note and my gift in private, and somehow, later, that seemed to me to be just as well. I hadn’t done it to stand there to be thanked.  I would say now that the timing worked out perfectly, even though it didn’t seem so at first glance.

Later in the year, Rachel Remen gave a booksigning and I bought a copy of her “My Grandfather’s Blessings” for E.  I explained to Dr. Remen briefly who it was for–there’s a story in there of a mom who’d gone through a similar loss, and I wanted my friend to know there was someone else out there who had gone through this and could understand, far better than I, for all my good intentions.  I told Dr. Remen, “And now I have to pray to know…” and she, looking in my eyes and I in hers, said “when!” in unison.

Again I prayed. Again the answer came to me, at last, on Mother’s Day.  And so I took it over, inscribed to comfort her from the author herself.

After that, I got a clue.  I knew when to go.  I showed up every Mother’s Day on E.’s doorstep. An amaryllis in bloom, the impossibly late last daffodil from my garden, a certain new book of which I was so proud, always something.

My younger daughter mentioned about my illness and hospitalization and her worries on Facebook this past winter, and E.’s daughter read it and told her mom. Which is how E. showed up in my hospital room, bringing me flowers, a visit, and a great deal of comfort that I never would have expected.  She is dear to me.  It meant much.

But she said something that distressed me: she told me I didn’t have to bring her anything on Mother’s Day anymore. But! But!  Although, at the time, it didn’t entirely look like I’d be seeing any more Mother’s Days anyway.

I was on the phone with my son today when my doorbell rang.

imgp7608It was E. standing there. Bringing ME flowers. And not only flowers, but a blooming plant to put in my yard to remember and think of her and enjoy. She had no idea whatsoever that I’d been wanting a hydrangea anyway in a somewhat bare spot in the yard there–it just happened to be what she felt I might like when she saw it. And I do. Oh, I do!

The light in the colors just bursts through.

22 Comments so far
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Sometimes, I think that truly all that we need to do is listen, follow instructions and say thank you.

Comment by Linda W 05.10.09 @ 6:12 pm

Being still is sometimes so hard to do, yet what wonders happen when we try.

Comment by Jody M 05.10.09 @ 6:22 pm

And a happy Mothers Day to you!

Your story brought tears to my eyes — tears of sadness, and tears of joy.

A joke just doesn’tseem appropriate here. I’ll give you two tomorrow. I have a dreadful, wonderful pun story.

Comment by Don Meyer 05.10.09 @ 6:46 pm

Happy Mothers Day!!!

What a blessing you are for each other. Answers to prayers are often whispered to our hearts. If only we could all learn to Patiently listen for them.

Comment by TripletMom 05.10.09 @ 7:13 pm

Oh, how beautiful! And thank you for the reminder to be still and listen. It is particularly timely for me just now.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Comment by Pegi 05.10.09 @ 7:22 pm

You and E have touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. Happy Mother’s Day to you both. Did you notice how perfectly the hydrangea complements the roses and new shawl? Lovely!

Comment by Madeline 05.10.09 @ 7:28 pm

Officially jealous here. I’d love a hydrangea, but the last time I planted one in my yard it died from the heat. Sigh.

Comment by Ruth 05.10.09 @ 10:25 pm

Love Rachel Naomi Remen’s books. Had both of them, loaned one and didn’t get it back. Hrmm, know what I’ll be doing for FHE tonight, spending it and some of my paycheck at the bookstore so I may re-read.

Comment by Lynn 05.11.09 @ 3:56 am

What a beautiful and moving story. I have tears streaming down my cheeks from reading it. Thank you for sharing.

(PS – I recently purchased your Wrapped in Comfort book and my tween daughter wants me to make her the Julia shawl. I took her to the local yarn store and had her pick out yarn for the project. Can’t wait to start it !)

Comment by Rebekah Pope 05.11.09 @ 5:49 am

What a sad, sad story. Bless your heart for thinking of E. And bless her heart for taking heart and passing it on. 🙂

Comment by Toni Smoky-Mountains 05.11.09 @ 6:08 am

Tears. The circle of life…

Comment by Channon 05.11.09 @ 7:22 am

Thank you Alison.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 05.11.09 @ 7:35 am

It’s hard sometimes to wait and listen for those moments of grace, but when they come, they are good.

Comment by Jocelyn 05.11.09 @ 9:34 am

Once again, a beautiful, thought-provoking story, Alison. Thank you and Happy (belated) Mother’s Day.

Comment by Kathleen 05.11.09 @ 10:22 am

I’ve been needing to cry about something else these past few days, and couldn’t.
You brought it out.
Thank you, Alison. I am always deeply moved when mothers are there for each other.

Comment by karin 05.11.09 @ 10:46 am

Thank you. The circle of life goes round and round.

Comment by Renee 05.11.09 @ 11:09 am

And so it goes. . .what goes around comes around. . .sometimes in most unexpected and wonderful ways. Amen.

Comment by Pam 05.11.09 @ 3:06 pm

gosh your posts give me chills, how blessed you both are to be in each other’s lives! Happy mother’s Day

Comment by grace 05.11.09 @ 6:38 pm

What a wonderful story!!! Loss, no matter whether it’s through death, or divorce, etc is difficult and takes time to come to terms with. In the mean time, Heavenly Father, many times through those of us here, gives comfort in whatever way we are willing to accept. I’ve found that it really is in whatever we are willing to accept, because we tend to push others away when we are emotionally in pain, even tho we really need others at those times. But some seeking to help and comfort listen to the still small voice and don’t take personnally the pushes away but gently keep reminding that they care and eventually break through the sorrow. You my dear friend are one of those :).

Comment by LDSVenus 05.11.09 @ 7:36 pm

You always seem to write what I need to read. Thank you for reminding me that my struggles could be ten fold.

Comment by Sonya 05.12.09 @ 9:51 am

Blessings come in all guises don’t they?

Comment by marti 05.12.09 @ 8:37 pm

Happy Belated Mother’s Day to you! Such a great story and friendship that has blossomed over the years through hardships. ::hugs::

Comment by Alicia 05.14.09 @ 7:29 am

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