My best friend Leslie’s mother died two years ago. Not just died – but died unexpectedly.
No last goodbye.
No final “I love you.”
It sucked, it was unfair, and I felt her pain. My father was murdered when I was seven years old and we lived in the Philippines. When I said goodbye to my mother to move to the United States with my grandparents, I didn’t know she would die of cancer before I had the chance to ever see her again.
I’ve known Leslie since the fourth grade and her mother, Tina, loved me like her own daughter. She clothed me; she fed me; she came to my school activities.
She taught me about selfless giving and so many other things about life… (In junior high, she bought Leslie and I a copy of Playgirl. That sure answered a lot of our teenage girl questions!)
I wanted Leslie to know I shared her loss because I loved Tina too. I also wanted to show Leslie that her mother lives on through her because they share many of the same qualities. More than anything, both of them were known to go the distance (like Timbuktu far) in helping anyone in need.
But what condolence gift would convey my emotions and sentiments? Flowers weren’t going to do the job.
Since Leslie reflects the best qualities of her mother, I gave her a Mother of Pearl Peacock Pair Double Compact Magnifying Purse Mirror she could carry with her. Two mother-of-pearl peacocks appear on the front. Both peacocks share many characteristics in common yet retain their individuality.
On the back of the mirror, I had engraved these words:
You Reflect the Best of Your Mother
In Memory of Tina Thomas
Mother to Many
I gave it to Leslie on our 30th Birthday Road Trip as we sat across from Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park waiting to see one of Mother Nature’s best shows. I pulled her gift from the pocket of my jacket, handed it to her, and explained to her what I just told you.
“I feel like you just proposed,” she laughed between tears. Then we watched Old Faithful erupt in all of her wonder, glory and beauty. Like Tina’s life, it didn’t last as long as we wanted but the two of us felt infinitely blessed we got to experience it at all.
We will carry the memories of Tina and that day with us – all our lives.
The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living. – Marcus Tullius Cicero