A Cherished Gift



A Cherished Gift

 To be honest with you, I always envied women whose ‘best friend’ was their mother.  Though there was no question that my mother and I loved each other very much, our relationship many times was quite turbulent; often not easy for either of us.  At once we were totally different … strangely the same.  We were never friends; it had nothing to do with love … it had everything to do with chemistry.  In the year and a half before she died, those differences faded.  In the vernacular of today, Mother and I bonded; perhaps because our roles had reversed.  It is easy to look back now with gratefulness for all the positive, good things she gave me.  Two such memories come to mind … one in the beginning … one at the end …

Crayola regular crayons, non-toxic, School and Office

… Crayons fascinated me.  I loved all the ‘beautiful’ colors; but alas, it was the Crayola ‘taste’ that held my interest, not the art of coloring.  Obviously, my coloring time had to be monitored closely, and on such an occasion, in an attempt to interest me in the art, Mother colored a page from my coloring book.  I watched with disappointment as she selected two crayons … colors that did not interest me visually, nor for that matter tempt my young palate!  Still, I watched in amazement as she magically turned the uncolored page into a beautiful picture of yellow daisies with brown centers.  It was my first lesson in using a negative to create a positive, and even at that young age, I understood!


… On my way to visit Mother in the hospital, I decided to stop and pick out a plant for her.  Immediately, three peach colored blossoms caught my eye and my heart.  I knew Mother would love the color; to me, the stair-step daisies were somehow symbolic of her three daughters.  As I entered the room with her plant, a frail, sweet smile told me she was pleased!!

Several days later, a long-distance call from the hospital informed me that Mother had suddenly slipped into a coma.  The end was near, they said.

There was no way to reach her side before she died … too many miles … too little time.  And Daddy, who had suffered debilitating stroke just months before, was unable to be with her.  To think that no one would be at her side in her last moments was devastating to me: but thankfully, she was not to be alone.  Dear neighbors, kind enough to stay with her, witnessed her slip away quietly; leaving behind … those who loved her, the terrible illness she faced with such dignity, and the daisies.

After the funeral, I took her daisy plant home with me; and even though I gave it special attention and loving care, the plant barely made it through the winter.  In the spring, I moved the plant to fresh air and sunshine on my patio.  It responded resiliently to the beauty of the season, and began to sprout new, lush healthy leaves.  One Saturday morning, I was delighted to see a tiny bud beginning to open.  Realizing that the following day was Mother’s day, I could hardly contain my excitement!

Now, perhaps this story is not within your realm of reason ... but it certainly is within mine!!  In time, the daisy opened to full bloom, and to my surprise, there was not a hint of peach coloring. 

Picture of Rudbeckia flower.

Incredibly, the daisy was brilliantly colored a bright yellow, with a rich brown center.  I can also tell you that throughout the growing season, there were no more daisies.  Surely you will understand when I say that for me ...  one daisy was enough ... a cherished gift!

Beverly Smith Zacharias

From "Gifts" Christmas 1990



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