When Love Returns: A Mother’s Valentine Story

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Sometimes an almost miraculous moment gives peace to a broken-hearted mother.

 

When Cathy Bobb learned her beautiful 20-year-old daughter Mary was murdered while closing up the video store where she worked, her heart shattered.   Already emotionally vulnerable when she struggled with bouts of depression, this shock in 1993 added to her sense of life’s fragility.

 

 

Sometimes, though, in the following years she found serendipity remembrances of her beloved daughter that encouraged her spirit.  It happened most while deep cleaning the country home where she lived with her  husband Vic.  “I might be cleaning out a closet, and discover a little drawing from childhood, or find a bracelet that fell down the couch.”  She liked these surprises, almost feeling like they were visits from Mary.

 

 

But within a few years, this no longer happened.  “I remember having a conversation with God one day and saying, ‘I guess there won’t be any more reminders of Mary.  We must have found them all.”  This deepened her sadness.   “I really cried a lot this day since I missed her so much.”

 

 

Cathy and Vic once owned a piano, but when they moved to a small apartment in 1986, they loaned  the piano to Lee Ann Chaney, a fellow professor at the university where Vic taught English.  Finally, several years after Mary’s death, they told the professor that she could just keep it.

 

 

So Lee Ann cleaned out the piano bench, and dropped off a box full of remnants to Vic’s campus office.  He stored this in his office closet, and promptly forgot about it.  Nor did he mention this to Mary.

 

 

A SURPRISE VALENTINE

 

A few weeks later,  shortly after Cathy’s prayer, Vic happened to bring the box home.

 

“To my unbelievable delight, besides her old piano books, I also discovered a handmade Valentine card that Mary drew for me when she was just 8 years old.  This was over 15 years earlier!” recalls Cathy,

 

 

In Mary’s handwriting on a paper heart was her poem:

Through all your years

Through all your tears

Here is a kiss. 

 

“Then, Mary had borrowed my lipstick and put a kiss on the card.  Under this, she wrote:

 

P.S. I hope you like this!   I recall that when she gave it to me she even thought her poem seemed a little strange and she feared I wouldn’t like it.

 

I felt badly because this came after one of my bouts of depression when I cried a lot and it troubled me that I caused her worry as a young child.”

 

 

But the timing of receiving of this Valentine left Cathy overjoyed.  “I hadn’t prayed to God to ‘please let me have just one more thing.’  Even so, what I usually found were just little things, like a drawing.  To receive this Valentine with the words of her love was a great gift. It felt like she sent me a hug from heaven, reassuring me that no matter the hard times, know I love you.  It healed a lot and this healing has held for me.”  A kiss, after years and years of tears.

 

A Waterfall of Mercy

 

Her story reminds me of a phrase in Franciscan priest Richard Rohr’s daily meditation book Yes, And...where he speaks of our living “under the waterfall of mercy.”  Many persons have shared with me some extraordinary moments in ordinary days when they sense the love of the person that has died.  Often these happen in nature.  What most emerges from these different stories, which they hesitate to tell many others, is how this gives them a growing inner peace and confidence.

 

Living under a waterfall of mercy. Thanks to Loren Lucky photography

Living under a waterfall of mercy.
Thanks to Loren Lucky photography

Clearly, a waterfall of mercy when our hearts feel parched.

 

Have you ever experienced such moments?

 

 

 

  



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Pilgrimage (54 Posts)

Pilgrimage through Loss: Pathways to Strength and Renewal after the Death of a Child offers encouragement and information for other parents living in the long season of sorrow. Drawn from interviews from mothers and fathers on their grief journey, plus Linda Lawrence Hunt's memoir of their family's loss, it also includes recent research on grief, resilience, and creative healing.


2 Responses to When Love Returns: A Mother’s Valentine Story

  • What a beautiful and encouraging story. For Cathy Bobb to have that tangible connection with her daughter’s on-going love is a precious gift. Although we cannot orchestrate these special moments we can remain open to receive them. At least that has been my experience . As a wise friend said to me after the death of my Mother, “keep your eyes and ears open.”

    • Thanks, Judi. What you are saying makes sense as I listen to the stories of so many persons who find surprises when they live with an open spirit. They do become received as gifts, often giving a distinctive peace.

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About Linda
For everyone, life sometimes brings shipwreck moments.

Ours happened when four friends woke us one beautiful May dawn to break the news that our 25-year-old married daughter Krista had died 7000 miles away while volunteering in Bolivia. Our hearts shattered, much like the shards of her bus that plunged over a mountain cliff.
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Support for Parents

+ Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors On-line forum and website www.allianceofhope.org

+ American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) (Formerly Candlelighters Childhood Cancer) www.acco.org

+ Compassionate Friends www.compassionatefriends.org

+ First Candle: www.firstcandle.org Support for Stillborn and SIDS deaths

+ Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide (LOSS) www.catholiccharities.net/loss

+ MISS Foundation (also in Spanish) www.missfoundation.org On-line support groups : Infant & toddler death and advocacy

+Parents of Murdered Children www.pomc.com

+ TAPS: Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors: www.taps.org 1-800-959 3277 for survivors of military deaths