I Could Smell the Daffodils

 A few mornings ago, I was up just as the sun was rising.  Looking out the window at this early hour, I could see a silent world encased in winter blue.  Huge fir trees were bending and straining beneath fresh dollops of snow and all the housetops were layered in blankets of white, slumbering beneath a leaden grey sky. Though winter was wrapped about me, snug and tight, for some reason when I closed my eyes to pray, I could smell (the)daffodils.

What had daffodils to do with the reality that was before my eyes?  Well in order to explain I need to go back a little in time. Over a month ago, my good friend Monique and her family came to my house for an impromptu dinner.  As Monique walked through my door, she handed me a bouquet of bright yellow daffodils. I stared at them for a moment, surprised that she had found them in the dead of winter and also surprised that she had chosen to bring me daffodils. Did she know they were my favorite?   No, she explained, she had just seen them and had thought of me.

The morning following Monique’s visit, I was awakened by a phone call informing me that my mother had died in California.  Even though she had been sick for over six years, nothing could have prepared me for this finality.  She had died alone, far from me, and I had not been able to say, “I love you, Mom,” one last time.

At Mass that same morning, this regret pierced my heart so fiercely that I was almost overcome with emotion, but then, I remembered the daffodils, and suddenly, I understood.

When we retired and made New Hampshire our home, my mother sent me one hundred daffodil bulbs to plant in my garden. She knew that the long cold winters of New England would be difficult for her California baby to bear; she wanted to make sure that after the dreariness of winter had passed, I could look into my garden and know that she loved me and that somehow she was still with me.  

Thanks Mom!  I love you too!

Marie Thibodeau Co-founder of the Little Daughters of the Sacred Heart

“Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while but their hearts forever.”   author unknown


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