My son, Christopher, was born on St. Patrick’s Day. Eleven years later, he was rushed to heaven, unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, it was enough that I had to live on without his presence. There was no choice. But how I’d miss celebrating his special birthday. Everyone noticed St. Patrick’s Day. Especially me. I couldn’t hide from it.
As his day approached, I recalled Christopher’s favorite cake based on the blockbuster movie, “Jaws.” White cake cut like a big fish, frosted gray, sharp dorsal fin pointing up, and open, red-frosted-mouth lined with candy corn. Plus, le piece de resistance? A borrowed Barbie-doll leg jutting from its jaws. Chris raved about it. Horrifying, yet tasty. I smiled at the weird memory.
What was the plan going forward? Of course, I could have baked him a cake after he was gone. Maybe had a party. But I knew such an action would only break my own heart. So on St. Paddy’s day, I started surprising my daughter Heidi with a lunch out, a movie date, or a special gift. In her brother’s memory.
The years passed and our little celebrations became smaller until our faithful observation shrank to sending one another special St. Patrick’s Day cards to honor Christopher. Heidi often made one for me by hand – a treasure, indeed.
A few weeks ago, a late Christmas present arrived. A new Nicholas Mosse, TALL mug to add to my tiny collection. Gifted from my daughter and her family. I like to allow things or places or situations to mark something significant. For me, it’s like building an altar in the field…”so I’ll remember.”*
This mug was useful and beautiful and a quality thing to mark both my kids. The green clovers remind me of the St. Patrick’s Day birth of my son, Christopher, heaven bound far too soon. The deep blue flower represents my Heidi’s September birthday. The flower’s bright yellow center? My girl’s sunny disposition, delighting everyone. And edged all around? Hearts to represent Momma love.
All these years Heidi has lovingly kept her big brother’s memory alive on his special St. Patrick’s birthday, remembering him with me so I didn’t have to remember him alone. Now she’s found a way to mention him without saying a word. Every time I take tea in that lovely Nicholas Mosse mug.
I store a secret in my heart. And it’s this: Christopher – my son who lives anew in heaven and Heidi – my daughter living nearby, are my pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. They shine into my life, wherever they reside. And I am doubly blessed.
*Words from “Altar in the Field” by Bob Bennett. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owtYBRIVq14
4 responses to “My Personal Pot of Gold”
Beautiful story! Brought tears to my eyes. My heart goes out to you. Can you share what happened to him?
Thank you, Caroline. For reading, for commenting. And yes, I can tell the story. (You can’t see me crying, right?) My son used to walk home from school, with permission, once a week in order to deliver a local newspaper. His cool job! That day, he chose to walk without permission because his bus ride was painfully long. As he & a friend walked beside the road in front of the school, some kids on a passing bus made a ruckus in the back. The bus driver actually turned around, while driving, to quiet them down. In the doing, she ran off the pavement & struck my son, who was thrown under the wheels. A freak accident.
His friend wasn’t hurt, but Chris was killed instantly. Our lives changed forever, our hearts broken. I also felt instant sorrow for the bus driver who’d been responsible for the accident. What a thing to live with! My heart went out to her. Now the idea of hurting a child with my careless driving is my personal nightmare. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone else’s child to be taken too soon.
BUT, even so, God is faithful. And THAT, my friend, is an understatement. His love surrounded me & His angels sang to me when I was too sad to speak. He sent wonderful people to my aid, some who’d been through the same thing. Truly, He walked with me, carried me, & never left me for a second. His matchless loving-kindness saw me through it all. I’m so grateful!
I sometimes wonder, if I could choose to go back (& of course one cannot), would I choose a different outcome? If that was possible? And I can’t answer. Letting Chris go to his Father in Heaven as my choice, is one I don’t think I could make. How could I give him up? I don’t know. But it does give me a little insight into the Father’s sorrow as He offered His own Son, Jesus, to save us. What a choice! What an act of love…!
My heart still breaks for you. Your faith is strong. You have a beautiful attitude. Love you!
Oh, Sheri! How sweet you are, my friend. And yes, my faith IS strong. But only because of where I place it. In the Faithful One. He’s an easy place to store my faith, since He never fails. Love you back. You know I do!