There are times in our lives when we are profoundly touched by another person even though we have never met them. Sadly, sometimes they are already gone and we have lost the opportunity.
I have a friend in my community who I am very fond of. We do not know each other all that well but have been friends for a long time and our husbands are btff (best tennis friends forever). She and her family emanate an infectious warmth and hospitality. Being in their home one feels instantly comfortable and engaged. Their circle of friends is equally embracing. We always leave their house feeling as if we have had a full experience. Does that make sense? I hope so.
This past weekend we attended a memorial service for her mom who passed away suddenly last month. This particular congregation has a beautiful custom of creating a booklet of readings for its life cycle events. Friends and family members read from this booklet and helped paint a picture of this vibrant woman.
During the service my friend spoke about the mom she had lost. Theirs was a tender relationship, one that every mother and daughter hopes to have. Her loss was very painful to witness, yet being there I felt the greatest honor she could give her mother was to share who she was with those who did not know her.
She told a story about going back to her mom’s home to sort through the pieces of her life. The most precious things she found were two post-it notes. Her mom had a habit of scribbling down thoughts and sticking them around her home. (a woman after my own heart as I have a bulletin board filled with such things over my desk). One of the notes said it all for me:
You don’t know and I don’t know.
How perfect is that? Pretty much says it all. We can worry and ruminate. We can plan and organize. We can strive and learn and try to control it all. But in the end, you don’t know and I don’t know.
I am sorry I never had the pleasure to meet this fine woman, but in some ways I suppose I have.
To my dear friend, may your grief be tempered with the knowledge that you were loved fully by a mother who adored you. And may your wonderful boys, or shall I say young men, give you the strength and support you need during this terribly sad time.
And may I say, it was an honor to ‘know’ your mom.
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