The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Sunday, April 22, 2007



On a walk last summer, I discovered a note left with some flowers at a park bench. The bench memorialized a neighbor who had died. The note, and I assumed the flowers, were left by the dead neighbor’s widowed spouse. Again, this was something I assumed because the note was a love letter expressing the author’s profound grief, but it was unsigned.

The tribute to the woman moved me deeply and on subsequent walks I noticed that as the seasons changed so did the flowers. There were mums left in the fall, poinsettias at Christmas, shamrocks on St. Patrick’s Day. But there was never another note, never another clue to the identity of the person
who mourned so.

Until today.

On my walk this morning as I passed the familiar bench shaded in a grove of redwoods. I noticed a new plant, a white Easter lily left for the holiday weeks before. The lily contained two large blooms, one upright and fresh, the other broken and hanging by a thread of its stem. Underneath the pot I saw a purple envelope, the first note since the summer before.

I rushed to the bench.

Across the front of the envelope someone had scrawled in black ink: “RIA.” I looked at the plaque at the foot of the bench and saw it honored Maria McAuliffe Johnson who died in 2004. I opened the envelope and pulled from it a card that read, “For my wife at Easter with love.”

Inside someone had written: “My Darling: I miss you more than I can say. You are always in my heart.” It was signed, “Love Dan” though it may have read, “Love Don.” I couldn’t be sure.

A lump clogged my throat. Three years since Maria’s death had not diminished Dan’s – or Don’s – love for her. Death may have claimed her body, but not the memory of who she had been to him -- the love of his life.

Of course, as it did that first time I came across the husband’s tribute to his dead wife, that knowledge made me think of the loved ones in my own life: My husband, Dave, my school-aged sons, Christopher and Timothy.

I never met Maria McAuliffe Johnson but I felt as if our lives had crossed paths. I had thought of her at nearly every holiday that had passed since first noticing her husband’s tributes last summer. I expect I’ll be thinking of her in the future as well when my walks take me past her bench and whatever tributes her grieving husband leaves for her there.

And each time I think of her, I’ll remember that time is short but love is long.

By Laura-Lynne Powell

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How interesting! I remember a previous blog or something about when you first found a note from him. How romantic. Wow.
Kimberly Craig
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