I’ve never been sure if hearts find me or if I find them. It doesn’t really matter. It is just a wonderful part of my life. Heart shaped potato chips, clouds, leaves, ponds, rocks and even a baked potato. I plan one day to make them a book, but I do not suggest you hold your breath!
I have a dear friend who fought a courageous, long and hard battle with breast cancer. For years we prayed, walked relays, drank oodles of green tea, added flax seeds to everything and went to way too many doctor appointments. We celebrated birthdays and holidays with gratitude and gifts. Every gift I gave her was a heart of some kind to remind her that even though we did not always live close by she was always in my heart. We would have many heart-to-heart talks too. She was always worried about her family and that she would be forgotten. I listened and tried to quell her fears, even though I was scared she would forget us. I remember one night asking her to please, please, please visit me when she was gone … she promised.
As life would have it, towards the end of her battle, we were living just 5 miles from each other. I was there at her final radiation and chemotherapy treatments. I was there when Hospice came for that initial interview. I was there when they admitted her. I had the honor of being by her side for her last breath.
The days following were all a blur. Family, friends and arrangements came and went. Writing thank you cards filled the next few weeks. Months later, I was invited to look through what her husband had left that the children and her sister did not feel compelled to keep. It was the trip I dreaded most, since it was the last time I would be in one of her homes. It felt like the worst kind of tag sale … things lined up on counters and tables. As I perused the items, someone commented on how much she must have loved hearts. That was our thing, so I carefully collected the heart cookie pan, bowl and jewelry dish—oh, and the two mugs we drank tea from. Those pieces are still some of my most prized possessions.
Years passed and she never visited and I was most baffled and disappointed. See, if you knew her, you would understand that nothing can stop her if she sets her mind to something, other than that horrific, despicable breast cancer. I could not understand why, after her promise, she would not send me a sign.
It happened at a most unsuspected time. I was driving to my son’s golf match with another mom. It was a bit of a drive and we were sort of new friends so it was a car ride filled with chatter. She was so easy to talk to, and the kind of person who asked questions and listened to your answer. During the drive the story of my friend spilled out of me … and I told her how I was lucky enough to keep a few of the heart gifts I had given to her over the course of our friendship. Her response was something like this, “So that’s why you find hearts everywhere?’ At first I was confused, but then it hit me like thirty tons of bricks. All the hearts I had been finding were actually finding me. She really had been sending me signs. I just did not see them for their true value, until that moment. I started to cry in her car as I am crying now. It took the eyes of a new friend to see through the eyes of my old one.
Don’t be sad, for she will never, ever be forgotten. She is everywhere. And now when you see a heart, and trust me you will, you’ll remember her as well. If it’s not too much trouble, please, send me a picture of the hearts you find—yet beware. She has a pretty funny sense of humor too!
Moral: Sometimes, what is right in front of you can only be seen with the help of a friend.
your heart loving friend,