No matter how deep our losses might be, nothing can separate us from the love of our loved ones.
I’m counting pennies in the music room that was Mother’s sickroom. I gaze through the window at the Blue Ridge Mountains, turning shades of cranberry, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice.
Joe Pye weeds pulse on a breeze. Gold glitters across the cornfield, and a wedge of geese honks through azure skies. You can’t hold back fall.
Seasons change. It’s like the seasons of life that change. I cared for my bedridden mother for three years. She had a stroke and massive heart attack.
I moved Mother into the house with me. I was her primary caregiver. She was completely dependent on me to feed, bathe, and change her. One night, I had to sit with her until early morning. She got a urinary tract infection. She was in pain—confused and irritable.
I called 911, and the ambulance transported her to the hospital. She was admitted and administered antibiotics through IVs. I stayed all day with Mother and was exhausted. The nurses told me to go home and get some rest. They would take good care of her.
I went to bed and fell into a deep sleep. The telephone rang, and I stumbled to answer it. That was the call you hope never to get. Mother passed away at age 98. I trembled all over and wept uncontrollably.
It’s been six months since she passed. When I think I’ve gotten over the grief, raw emotions rush forth like an avalanche. Mother was my best friend. We did everything together. Church. Events on the town square in Hayesville. Dinners. Trips. You can’t erase those years with a wave of the wand.
One day, I went to get groceries at Ingles. I was holding back tears when I got out of the car. Mother often went shopping with me.
I glanced down and saw a penny sparkling on the pavement and picked it up. When I got into Ingles, I noticed another penny on the floor.
I held the coin and thought of Mother. She had a keen eye for pennies and always picked them up. “An angel is thinking of me,” she said, and her blue eyes sparkled as she smiled.
As I hold the pennies in the music room, I feel the presence of my mother. It’s like a message from heaven that she is still with me in spirit, and not even death can separate our love for each other. I’ve moved my keyboard into Mother’s sickroom and turned it into a music room. That would make her happy because she always loved to hear me sing and play songs.
Finally, no matter how deep our losses might be, nothing can separate us from the love of our loved ones. Not even death. They will always be with us in spirit, and we are never alone.
Meet Brenda Kay Ledford
Brenda Kay Ledford is a member of North Carolina Writer's Network. Her children's picture book, "The Singing Convention," was released this year by Catch the Spirit of Appalachia. Her work has appeared in many publications.