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Three Greetings from Mother

The year before my mother passed consisted of several long hospital stays. I often took her in her wheelchair on a tour of the hospital grounds. One of her favorite places was the hospital's Gift Shop. My mother was a voracious reader. She was pleased to find so many books at discount prices.

One day, while waiting for my mother to look through the collection of paperbacks, I wandered around the store and came upon a clock. It was pastel pink, flowery, and covered in cherubs. The bottom was a carousel with little white horses dancing about. My daughter agreed that it had "me" written all over it.

When it was time to go, I wheeled my mother up to the cashier. She put her weekly supply of books on the counter and said to the cashier, "I'd also like that clock." Looking at me, she said, "Janice, Merry Christmas. This is my gift to you." It was one of my favorite gifts that she had ever given me.

A few months later my mother quietly passed away. That night, I took a bath and lay on my bed reminiscing over the past year of my mother's life. The trip to the gift shop popped into my mind, and I looked over at the clock on my dresser. I noticed that the pendulum was not moving. When I took a closer look, I discovered that the clock had stopped at 3:17 p.m., the exact time that my mother had crossed!

I have left the hands in that position to this day.

Shortly after my mother's death, my oldest brother, Mike, celebrated a birthday. Since he was a self- professed "Mama's boy," we all knew that this would be a sad day for him. We gave him a little party, but he excused himself early to go home.

On the way, he decided to stop at a yard sale. He browsed through the tables and decided to buy three paperback books. At home, he discovered that two of them had belonged to our mother! This was confirmed by her Initials and by the rating system she used to mark inside the cover of every book she read.

This reduced my 6'3'' brother to tears. He questioned how books belonging to our mom had found themselves at a yard sale an hour's drive from her home. Our mother had managed to make her presence known in order to wish him a "Happy Birthday."

My older, wiser sister, Kathy, is really quite psychic. She talks to my mother and father and deceased loved ones all the time. One day, months after my mom had passed, she asked for a sign. She was making her bed at the time and something told her to look out her window. There on her lawn were two perfectly shaped hearts entwined together in the snow. She was so excited she got her camera and took a picture.

Initially, I thought it must have been tire marks or impressions from something falling off a tree. But after seeing the pictures, I was surprised at the perfect heart shapes with absolutely nothing else around them in the snow. Even after her passing, our mother still managed to give her children a piece of her heart.

Janice Burpee

Posted Aug. 1, 2004