We are redoing our home office so I have been cleaning out the old to make way for the new. I spent some time this morning going through some papers using my Merlin electronic magnifyer, including the cards I received when my mom died. The plan was to keep just a few especially meaningful sentiments. As I carefully read each one, tears rolled down my face. Say what you will about the greeting card industry, the cards I received varied in length, but whether simple or more intricate, they were all beautifully written, saying just the right thing at a time when there is no such thing.
There were messages from old co-workers who heard of mom’s passing through mutual friends, and in some ways they were the most touching. People no longer in my everyday life took the time to offer their sympathies and show me support. My close relationship with my mom was well-known and many included notes about our strong bond. Three people who sent cards have since passed themselves and one particularly moving note was written by a woman who no longer recognizes me due to dementia. One of the senders has just lost her own mom. Life, in spite of death, goes on.
Initially setting a few aside to shred, I quickly realized I couldn’t get rid of a single one. I tied all the cards together with a ribbon and placed them in the chest where I keep other remembrances of my mom. They are so much more than paper and ink, they are the senders themselves, transported in an envelope to provide strength and remind me that although I had lost a huge part of my life that was my mom, I am not alone. Today, six years later, I wasn’t crying over my mom’s loss, but their love.