After mom died last year, a dear friend who lived nearby took it on herself to help me. I was lost in a fog of grief and just having her support was gift enough.
But Elizabeth wound up giving me so much more. And it didn’t end there!
I asked friends and family to take whatever they wanted and, of course, saved a few precious memories for myself. But there was still so much in the house! A lifetime of things. And because I live in a small fully furnished apartment many miles away, I decided to donate most of mom’s stuff. This way at least mom’s death would turn into gifts for other people.
At the time, Elizabeth was the head of a wonderful charity that helped kids and their families. And she offered to take charge of EVERYTHING! She and her team spent the next 6 weeks making sure each item, even down to things like warm coats, gloves, and socks (there were many unopened packages), found the right place. Elizabeth being who she is spent a good deal of time really thinking this through and trying to match items to people who would appreciate them. A lot of the things wound up at the Center, but even with those items, Elizabeth made it her personal mission to find the right corner or wall or table to place each of mom’s things.
I can’t begin to tell you how much this meant to me. I live about 100 miles from where mom lived, and it was hard after a while going back and forth, especially since I don’t drive. Plus I wasn’t feeling well. But Elizabeth was a tower of strength, taking this off my shoulders so I could begin to heal. After a while, I didn’t even have to go up there. She managed the whole thing and we communicated by phone.
I will never forget how excited she was to do this for me and my mom. And it felt great to know in this way mom could live on. Elizabeth even saved a few things she thought I might want one day, despite my assuring her I could let them go. Instead, she tucked them away in her house for me for safekeeping. Just in case.
And Then … an Unexpected Thanksgiving Day
A couple of weeks after Elizabeth finished this enormous task of love, she and her family gathered in her house to celebrate Thanksgiving. I’m sure one of the things she was grateful for was that the overwhelming undertaking of transferring mom’s goods was finally done!
That weekend, Elizabeth’s house burned down. Completely destroyed. Thankfully, everyone survived, but for a while it was touch and go for Elizabeth, who was badly injured in the fire.
I was still in shock from mom’s death (and other things), and when this happened, I was beside myself wanting to do something to help and yet feeling so incapable of returning all she had done for me. But I was told there was nothing I could do at this time. And so I prayed and waited.
Finally, Elizabeth was able to leave the hospital. Thank god. She was still pretty weak and her family asked that people not visit, but it was ok to call. I cried just to hear her voice again. After all she had done for me and all she has done for so many people, it seemed unreal that this should happen to her and her family. But of course, that is the way life works some times.
She sounded so frail, but when she heard my voice she said “Ronnie! I’m so glad you called. I just have to tell you this!”
Elizabeth’s Amazing Story Continues
With no house to return to, the charity she works for made room for her and her husband in one of their guest houses, usually used for the families of kids they help. Turns out that when she was brought home from the hospital and taken into the bedroom, there was my mother’s entire bedroom set waiting to welcome her home! She immediately recognized it and cried, thankful for this amazing turn of luck. After all they’d been through, it meant so much to her to have something like this…something she recognized and felt a connection to.
She and her husband have stayed there and slept on my mom’s bed ever since, recovering from this horrible tragedy – and yet grateful for the strange and comforting twist of fate. My mom was never one to let a favor go unreturned!
And now, one Thanksgiving later, they will soon be moving to a new home. Somehow I bet my mom will do her best to make sure something wonderfully special happens to welcome them there too. (Or if not mom, maybe a little pixie I know.)
Thank you so much Elizabeth! May your new home bring you much joy and contentment. We don’t really know why these things happen, but if we look hard enough, there always seems to be some magic to go along with the mystery.
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Read how you can help a hungry person!
November 24, 2007 by Ronnie Ann