As Marisa’s 7th birthday loomed on the horizon, my heart and soul were filled with questions…
How could we create a magical celebration for Terri’s beloved Miss M?
How could we convey to Marisa the depth of her mother’s love?
How could we ease the painful reality that her Mamãe no longer graced this earth?
A week before Miss M’s gymnastics party I was racking my brains for an idea for her “Mamãe gift”. I had promised Terri that each year I would pick out just the right gift for Marisa. One that embodied the essence of their mother/daughter bond. Last year’s china tea set was a huge hit. Miss M delighted in serving all who attended her 6th birthday- Me, Papai, Aunty Cole, cousins Jeanne, Erin and Jessie, and neighbors Kristina, Mike and Isaac.
But for some reason, this year, I just couldn’t figure out what to do. My daughter Jamie and I were discussing our surprise to beat all surprises for Miss M’s actual birthday, when I told Jamie about my dilemma.
“Mom, remember we had Terri write Marisa’s name? So I could make a necklace or a bracelet for her?”
“Oh my God, Jamie, yes! That would be perfect!!!!!!!!!!”
“I have the two names, Marisa and Goose. Think she’d like Goose?”
“Oh honey, I think that would be perfect,” I replied, my voice breaking as I heard Terri’s voice whisper, ‘Night Goose’.
Fast forward to the day of Miss M’s party. I located the purple folder that contains the cards Aunty Cole bought for Terri to leave Miss M. Finding the one for 2016, I could not believe my eyes when I opened it…
“It was an ordinary life, right up until the moment your were born. Then it SPARKLED! Happy Birthday to an AMAZING daughter.”
Who sparkles up all our lives! With her silliness and big smiles!
Love you goose!
When I finally finished crying, I thanked Terri for “whispering” the answer to Jamie and I.
After I loaded the car with all the party goodies, my cell phone rang. It was Papai. I answered but all I could hear was background noise. So I hung up and called him back.
“Did you just call me?”
“I don’t know. My phone was in my back pocket. Then when you just called me, I took it out to answer, and there was a picture of Marisa on the front. I never put it there. It’s her on the beach. I don’t even know how to do that on my phone.”
We were both silent for a few seconds.
“Must be Terri…”
We talked a bit more, finalizing what time to meet at the gymnastics center and after I hung up, I put my phone on the table and started washing the dishes. After a few minutes I heard something. Turning, I could see my phone was lit and I could hear someone talking.
“Oh my God,” I exclaimed when I picked up the phone and heard his voice again. “You aren’t going to believe this! My phone was on the table and I was washing dishes. I didn’t even touch it and it dialed you!”
“Wow,” he replied, and I could literally “hear” the smile on his face.
But Terri’s piece de resistance, was later that afternoon. Marisa had just opened her Mamãe present when I heard the ding of a text arriving on my phone. It was Aunty Cole… Who had NO IDEA today was Miss M’s party. I immediately FaceTimed her.
“You are not going to believe this!!!!” I yelled. “We literally just opened Mamãe’s card and present and then you texted. Look Aunty Cole! Look at Marisa’s necklace.”
“Hi Goose! Oh my gosh, I remember the exact day Mamãe wrote that card for you! And look at that hot pink necklace!” she exclaimed, as Miss M modeled her newest treasure.
“Aunty Laurie, you aren’t going to believe this, but I actually sent you that text yesterday. And I was just saying to Mr. Ed, that’s not like Aunty not to get back to me. It’s been 24 hours. I think I’ll text her again. But then, when I went to text you a second time, I realized the original text never went through…”
I looked at Papai, then Jamie and Erin. And back at Aunty Cole.
And we all knew.
Terri was with us. She is always with us. Especially on those really special days. The ones when your heart threatens to shatter into a million pieces from the ache. And the loss. And the grieving. It’s then that she breaks through and reminds you.
I am here. I will always be here.
It helps me to be reminded of that. And I hope it helps you too…