This I Believe

Mollie - Yardley, Pennsylvania
Entered on October 25, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: death, family, legacy

This I Believe – There’s no greater gift than words spoken from the heart

My mother’s funeral had just ended and oddly I felt more happy than sad; more inspired even, than broken-hearted. This I owed to the stranger who spoke the final words of remembrance that day.

After the thoughtful eulogy, heartfelt reflections and moving music, I sat in my pew in a state of panic. The funeral will be over soon, I thought. Is this it? My mom is really gone. No one can possibly understand what she meant to me. My eyes filled with tears. I wanted to jump up and shout – ‘She was a wonderful person! A great mom! You would have loved her!’ But, of course, I didn’t. I wondered if any one of my six brothers and sisters were having a similar internal meltdown.

That’s when the minister asked if there was any one else who would like to say a few words. After an uncomfortable period of silence, a youngish man rose from one of the back rows and began to make his way to the front of the sanctuary. I didn’t recognize him. I noticed a similar confusion on the faces of my brothers and sisters. Who was this guy? The room was abuzz with soap-opera like curiosity – was he a relative? Possibly a long lost child? We all braced ourselves for a show stopper.

As if he was talking to me alone, he began to explain how he came to know my mother. ‘I’ve been delivering Mrs. Gragg’s mail for several years now’, he said. ‘On the day we met and every day since, she greeted me with a warm smile. And even though our visits were short, we managed to talk about the weather, about our families and about life. I looked forward to seeing her and taking her encouraging words with me. Because of Mrs. Gragg, I’m a better father, a better husband and a better postman. I will miss her. That’s it.’

It was indeed ‘it’. It was the greatest gift I have every received. With those words spoken unrehearsed, from the heart, I learned that someone else did understand. And because of his generosity, I had more reason than ever to know that my mother’s life was well-lived.