cards, flowers, love

It’s raining.

Great rushing torrents of water are filling the runway as lightning dances between claps of thunder.

My plane is delayed, just a bit, but I’ll get there on time.

I’d planned to fly to San Diego on Monday, but yesterday I moved the flight to Saturday night, and this morning my dad called and advised me to catch an earlier plane because we’re now counting hours, not days.

I feel oddly peaceful, buoyed by the love and prayers of friends. And I understand now why people ask everyone they know and all kinds of people they don’t know to pray for them in times of need; because I can literally feel the strength of the people who love me and my family and I need that spiritual lift more than food or sleep right now.

Every kind word, every email, every phone call, every sympathetic Facebook message has been pure manna for me this week. I’ve been on the other end of those phone calls and emails and I’ve sent cards and carried in dinners—but I never knew how much they meant. I never understood before…. and it makes me want to send cards and flowers and plates of cinnamon rolls to everyone I know; but for now, for today at least, I’ll sit back and receive.

On our last visit, my mom loved the cards and flowers sent by friends but was too ill to read emails or answer phone calls—so I’ll remember that, modern communication is fabulous but nothing replaces the hand-written card, nothing cheers a room more than flowers.

She’s completely bedridden now, not eating, sleeping almost constantly and waking to speak only a word or two before she fall back into slumber. But when my brother told her I was on my way her eyes flashed open and she struggled to sit up. So I know she’s waiting for me.

My sister says that sitting with my mom is incredibly peaceful and sweet, much like the first days with a newborn baby—an infant can’t speak or walk, but it’s still a joy to be with them, a privilege to hold their hand.

In a few hours (Please hurry plane! Please!), my adorable sister will pick me up at the San Diego Airport, “You’re easy to spot,” she said, “because no one else is all dressed up.” She knows I’m old-fashioned and think that airplane rides require a nice dress and heels.

“No, I don’t think I’ll dress up today.” I told her. “I’ll just wear jeans. And I don’t have the heart to do my hair or put on make-up.”

“Oh no you don’t,” Ruth replied, “Mom loves her bright, pretty daughter. You need to walk in there like a great big bouquet.”

And so I curled my hair and brushed blush across my cheeks. Mary chose a pinky-red polish for my toenails and we both agreed on my floral dress, red sandals and, clearly, obviously, necessarily… the red rose purse.

I may be all dressed up,

but I’m not ready to let her go.

photo taken June 3, 2009
June 14, 2009



  1. Linn

    June 14, 2009

    Oh Michelle, what a sweet, sweet post. And that picture makes me sob, once again. Praying for your family. I need to email Ruth now.

  2. Blue

    June 14, 2009

    Michelle, i’m so glad you can be there right now. please call me any time you need to if i can be of more help. i’m home now, and can look up info etc. and thank you for documenting your experience. sometime, when things calm down, i hope we can go for a long walktalk and you can teach me how it has worked for you. maybe i’ll have something similar someday. but either way, i’m glad you’re having this sweet experience. love you and yours…♥

  3. Brooklyn

    June 14, 2009

    Michelle, I’m thinking of you and your family. Your strength is inspiring.

  4. Kim

    June 14, 2009


  5. Kim

    June 14, 2009

    Sorry – clearly I’m having posting issues. Those last 2 comments were me. I’m thinking of you.

  6. Courtney

    June 14, 2009

    I am so sorry Michelle. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you. You and your family are in my prayers.

  7. Claudia

    June 14, 2009

    I know exactly what dress you wore. I’m sure you were radiant, as always.

    It was such a joy to spend time with your kids. They are so fun to watch and talk with. They gave me a play by play of the whole Taylor Swift concert. It was awesome. I love the way Mary and Gabe interact. There is a special bond there, no doubt. I will call tomorrow to see how you’re holding up.

    Sending my love, thoughts and prayers…c.

  8. Tracy

    June 14, 2009

    Thinking about you and your family. You are so beautiful in every way.

  9. Jess

    June 14, 2009

    That is such a beautiful and sweet photo. A treasure indeed! I am thinking of you and praying for you.

  10. Reluctant Nomad

    June 14, 2009

    I’m so glad you’re ALREADY there. And I’m so glad you got that photo. I just love it.

  11. Reluctant Nomad

    June 14, 2009

    I’m so glad you’re ALREADY there. And I’m so glad you got that photo. I just love it.

  12. queenbee

    June 14, 2009

    Thinking of you and praying for you and your family at this difficult time…

  13. Denise

    June 15, 2009

    I have seen many photos of your Dad over the years. This one is my favorite.

  14. Tiffanie

    June 17, 2009

    I scrolled through the pictures and your Dad has the exact same look of love on his face in the June 3 picture as he did on the wedding day picture. This touched me so deeply. Thank you for sharing this.

  15. Darlene

    June 25, 2009

    I lovelovelove that picture. Love it. Let’s sit down and talk sometime (retreat?). I lost my mother the same way . . . wouldn’t trade the experience of being able to nurse her near the end for anything.

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