The Mother of All Hallmark Moments

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I had a Hallmark Moment this morning. It wasn’t pretty.

Everyone who’s old enough to remember Hallmark TV specials and commercials (or who watches the Hallmark Channel now) knows this: if you have a heart at all, you’d never make it through a 60-second spot without at least a slight dampness in the corner of your eye or a lump in your throat. (And if you don’t have a heart, you just rolled your eyes and said, “Yep, it must time for another Hallmark Holiday.” You heartless people know who you are!) I admit, I’m a little (read: “a lot”) sappy, and they got me every single time. Still do, if I happen across one.

Today’s Hallmark Moment did more than just moisten my eyes. It was no warm and fuzzy moment, that’s for sure, and I’m pretty sure the ugly cry that followed would never make it on television. No, it started with a feeling of surprise, shock really, and was followed by a tightness in my chest—a squeezing of my heart. A pressure that pushed a stream of tears down my cheeks before I even realized what was happening. Standing just inside the door of the Hallmark Store, not far from our house, I stopped in my tracks. Practically paralyzed.

You probably haven’t thought much about it–I mean it IS more than a month away—but I hadn’t given a moment’s thought to the fact that Mother’s Day is the next (Hallmark) holiday. Just one more turn of the calendar and it’ll be here. (It’s on May 8th, so don’t say no one told you.)

Those Hallmark specials and commercials I mentioned? They were the centerpiece of some serious mother-daughter bonding in our house, many years ago (read: “40-ish years ago”). Mom and I would gather up some sweet treats (usually a stack of Oreo cookies) and a couple of tall glasses of milk, then we’d hide out in my bedroom to watch the tiny television in the corner. Perched on top of my bed, we watched every minute of the special; no dozing off like I do these days in front of the television.

Looking back, as much as I enjoyed those evenings, I bet Mom really soaked them in. Now that I’m a mom (read: “mom of young adults”) I appreciate how precious those moments are.

But now that I’m a daughter of a mom in heaven…well you get the picture…I have come to appreciate those moments (every moment with Mom) even more. And when I walked into the sea of beautiful trinkets and angels and messages proclaiming love for “my wonderful mother,” I was overcome by a feeling of aloneness. Mom was my sidekick, my shopping partner, my confidante and advisor. My friend. Wandering through the store brought back memories we shared over the years…my wedding, baby showers and birthday parties…joy.

This will be my second Mother’s Day without Mom. I wrote about it last year, too. I guess that’s what I do when my heart is squeezed (read: “breaking”).

I sat by the waterfall in our back yard this afternoon, admiring the roses we planted in Mom’s memory, just days after she died. Their buds burst open today, popping out bright red and yellow and white blooms.

Suddenly, but not surprisingly, I was joined by the biggest, most vibrant, butterfly I’ve seen (read: just one more sign that Mom is with me…now and always). Thanks Mom.

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2 thoughts on “The Mother of All Hallmark Moments

  1. Those heart squeezing moments are so hard. My dad has been gone for 4 years, and I still have those moments creep up on me or suddenly lunge at me. It sounds like you and your mom shared a lot of wonderful Hallmark moments. I am sorry for your loss.

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    1. My husband and I were just talking about grief being the price of love. I’m sure you and I both would much rather have a price to pay, knowing it was worth it. Thanks so much for your message!

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