Not all of us can be with our moms this Mother’s Day, but sometimes God sends us signs to let us know that they are still watching over us.
- Posted on May 4, 2021
Mother’s Day—it is often a day of reunion, joy, and family connection. However, for some, it can be a difficult occasion to get through. Whether we’ve lost our mother, are not in contact with her, or perhaps, never even knew her, sometimes we get a sign that lets us know we are still connected. These seven profound stories highlighting the mother-child bond can inspire all of us, especially those missing their mothers today.
One Last Surprise
Mama passed away in December 1997 at age 93. Two months later, on a cold gray February morning, four of us sisters gathered at our childhood home in Clarkesville, Georgia, to go through her things. It took hours to divide her treasures into orderly batches. We piled them on the beds, the dressers, even the window ledges. But we still hadn’t tackled Grandfather’s big black trunk. It was more than a hundred years old and sat at the very back of the closet.
The trunk’s hinges groaned as we raised the heavy lid. We pulled out old coats, prom dresses, baby sweaters, all things we remembered. An old, yellowed sheet was spread across the bottom of the trunk. Was there something beneath it? I pulled back the sheet. We all gasped.
The Woman in His Dreams
The dreams were vivid, he said, like sensory overload. They always took place amid lush, green hills. A soothing tune would drift through the dream, like a movie soundtrack. And, there before him, Charles would see a woman in a chiffon gown. Her smile made her glow. With her arms outstretched, she’d call for him: “Eddy!” A nickname only a few people knew. “The woman had curly brown hair and deep blue eyes,” Charles said. “I felt like I knew her voice too.”
Charles would go toward the woman. But he always woke up before they reached each other. By the time he was 11 or 12, the dreams stopped. Whenever life got hard, though, Charles would think back to the dream. And the woman in the chiffon gown, whose feet never touched the ground. “I always wondered who she was,” Charles said.
It’s been three years, Mom, and your old neighbors still don’t understand your garden in Greenville: lush southern magnolia; evergreen gardenia; dirt brimming with native pollinators, snakes and bees. You made it an Eden. I’ve done my best to care for the plants and animals you left behind, but folks here think it’s overgrown, too wild. Then again, I’ve always felt safe in wild places...
Your family—Swedish immigrants who’d learned to coax wheat stalks from the earth—learned everything they could about South Carolina, but even to them, you were peculiar. Maybe because you always believed that nature didn’t just serve us, but was part of us.
A Final Visit
Through years of ups and downs, all the insults and erratic behavior, I’d never been able to cut Mom off completely. I felt bad for her. I prayed for her. Asked God to heal her. But I’d finally found my breaking point... I’d already given her too many chances. I knew that she desperately needed help, but she needed to be the one to want to change. I couldn’t fix her. I needed to take care of my own family first.
I hadn’t communicated with Mom since that day. At least not until the experience I’d had the night before. I couldn’t shake the feeling that what I’d seen and felt was more than a dream.
The Ceramic Bunny
I’d lost my mom, Anita, to ALS when I was 24 years old. Her diagnosis came out of nowhere. Her decline was rapid and brutal. She went from fine one day to slurring her words the next. Coughing, choking, muscle weakness and weight loss quickly followed. I’d watched my strong, selfless mother—a pillar of our church community—wither away. Now I feared some illness would take me away from my own children, just as ALS had taken her from me.
On the drive home, a sign caught my eye: GARAGE SALE TODAY. On a Thursday? I love garage sales and flea markets. You never know what you’ll find.
An Unexpected Gift
Mother lived with metastatic bone cancer for a little more than a year. At the end of her life, she was no longer conscious. Her wish was to be discharged to my cabin for hospice care. The night before, I moved all the furniture and cleaned the hardwood floor to prepare for the delivery of her medical equipment. I was honored to care for Mother in her last days but saddened knowing I’d soon lose her. As I cleaned, I prayed for the strength I knew I’d need to usher her from this life to the next.
The next morning, two burly guys lifted the sofa to move it, making room for the hospital bed. “What do we do with these, ma’am?” one asked. I looked over.