She was the mother of five children and her whole world consisted of taking care of us kids and our Dad. Unfortunately, she lost her courageous battle against breast cancer in the early fall of September, nineteen ninety six.
It was hard on all of us, but it was especially hard on Dad. He and my Mom shared a very special bond, one that was based on a deep and abiding love, as well as a mutual respect that they both held, one for the other.
My mom always set the tone in all of her relationships. She treated everyone with the highest regard and with genuine affection. As many can attest, she was a no- nonsense kind of lady who could set you straight in a New York minute, but at the same time, leave you feeling encouraged and confident about yourself, always knowing that she was in your corner, no matter what life threw your way. She was quite a motivator, a real cheerleader. I honestly believe she could have motivated Tony Evans himself…she was that good!
One of the many things she loved to do was to work out in the yard. She took special pride in her assorted azaleas that bordered on the side of the house. I remember one day she called out to me from the front porch to meet her on the side yard. “I want to show you something, she said excitedly.” There before us, stood a huge vibrant red azalea bush in full bloom that was absolutely gorgeous. “This one has always been my favorite!” “Isn’t it beautiful?” I remember agreeing with her, but at the same time thinking “Gosh mom, it’s only a bush.
It wasn’t too long after that spring afternoon that she died. A few weeks after the funeral, I asked my husband, if he would mind digging up a small portion of that big red azalea on the side yard. I guess I just wanted to take a little of her back home with me.
My husband transplanted that little remnant of a bush in our backyard. I didn’t think any more about it.
The weekend of Mother’s Day arrived. And I wasn’t looking forward to it in the least. I sat at the breakfast table, gazing out the window with coffee cup in hand, wondering just how I was going to make it through the day.
All the sudden my husband walked in and said, “You’ve gotta come see this” I could tell by the tone of his voice that I just needed to do what he said and spare him the questions. So, I quickly shuffled around to find my slip-ons and followed him out to the backyard. My curiosity was starting to peak as we rounded the garage then suddenly he turned around and pointed downward. There, poised just as pretty as picture, was mom’s red azalea blooming beautifully…in the shape of a heart! I couldn’t believe my eyes, and neither could my husband. For a moment, we both stood there speechless. Then, I smiled and said “Isn’t that just like her, always trying to cheer everybody up…this is her way of saying everything’s ok!”
From that moment on, I never allowed the sadness of her absence to overwhelm me. I knew that little bush was a heavenly sign to me, telling me that her heart would always be there and that her love for us would always be in full bloom! Now, I could go to the family celebration of Mother’s Day with out any gloom and tell my Dad and the others about her very special heart -shaped message of love to us all!
There’s nothing quite as special, as a mother’s love.