“I’d been completely lost since my mother passed away from brain cancer late last year. She had been my best friend, my confidant and such a light in my world. My grief ran deep, but my questions went deeper. I wished God had an 800 number where I could call Him directly and ask all the things that tormented my heart. Why couldn’t I have had more time with her? Am I a faithful woman if I am angry and question You?
“One afternoon I stopped in at a new thrift store that opened up in town. While hunting through racks of old sweaters, picture frames and teacups, my heart broke, thinking of how much Mom would have loved this place. Suddenly, I spotted a wooden board on a shelf nearby. Someone had hand-painted scrolling lettering across the front and as I read the words, I felt my legs almost buckle beneath me. It said, I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around your neck. My mom had sung that song to me when I was a little child. Every time I’d gone off to school. Anytime I hadn’t felt good. Whenever she’d wanted to make me laugh. It had even been the last thing she’d ever said to me before she took her last breath. As I picked up the sign, I could feel my mother beside me, her presence undeniable and her soul at peace. She wasn’t sick or in pain any longer. She was where she so wanted to be…with God in His beautiful kingdom, but still loving me.
“That night as I curled up on the couch, I kept glancing up to where I hung the wooden plaque underneath my mother’s photos. The questions and grief I’d carried were now a lovely sense of understanding: that our love would keep us close, always.”
—Hillary Stone, 61, Charleston, WV