by Lynn Caldwell

So today is the day. I have for the past eight years struggled with parting with my mother’s belongings, after her death in 2009. Those of you that have been there or are there will understand and the rest of you will someday also go through this tormenting challenge.

I was able to part with some things soon after her death by donating to many of the charities that she supported and over the years I slowly parted with other items. Her kitchen items were the hardest to part with as she loved to cook and there were many times I was unaware of the struggle there was to put food on our table much less for her to work full time and cook three nutritious, homemade meals a day for her family, a very dysfunctional family at that.

I have had her cream colored winter coat in my coat closet for all those years. I thought I might wear it and often I argued with myself when I started to give it away. I might want to wear it but I don’t wear coats. “I can’t wear it because it has a hood and I don’t have “hood hair”,the hood is detachable. The struggle is real.

It still has a faint smell of Lucky Strike non-filtered cigarette smoke masked by the sweet smell of Estee Lauder Beautiful perfume but I am sure I am the only one that can smell that. There is a bit of her Estee Lauder makeup around the collar as I have never had it cleaned. I did not want to wash away the smells, the memories. I know the memories are not in the coat but in my heart but every time I pick it up and start to put it in that bag I find another tear, another memory. There are many things I will never let go of but they are of no use to anyone. This coat is needed by someone that is struggling to feed their children, that doesn’t have proper clothing much less a warm coat.

I have planned to take the coat to The Dream Center everyday this week but today is the day and I know it is the day because of the sign. Yep, most that are familiar with me know I believe in those signs that I believe are from above. Yesterday ,I noticed that my gardenia that I had moved into my kitchen had a new bud and was about to bloom. My mother’s favorite flower was the gardenia and is mine as well. My brother gave this plant to me on my birthday a few years ago because my niece remembered me telling her that gardenias were my favorite flower. This morning when I awoke it was in the 30’s but when I walked into my kitchen I immediately saw the most perfect gardenia bloom. I think this was a sign that with love, shelter and proper care all things can bloom no matter the weather, no matter the storm. So, today is the day that the coat is going in the bag. It will be in a separate bag from the other clothes I am taking and there will be a handwritten heartfelt note enclosed.

My mother would be happy to know that her struggles continue to help others and I am happy to contribute to The Dream Center , a cause close to my heart because, there but for the grace of God go I !

About the Author Lynn Caldwell:

I was born and raised in Milan, Tn and when I went off to Martin ,Tn to college, my parents moved to Jackson ,Tn but I found them! I majored in Pre-Vet and changed majors shortly after I learned I was going to have to castrate a hog. I graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice and began working for the State of Tennessee in child welfare.

I retired from Department of Children’s Services with 30 years service. I also volunteered for 19 years doing the fundraising of our local private “no-kill” humane society..
My passion has always been people and animals as well as nature. I guess you could say I love all living things . Most of my writings reflect those things as well as honoring and memorializing the deceased.


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