12/10/2008

A Single Twenty Dollar Bill


A lot of years went by with no dialogue between the two. Many years had passed since they had seen each other, hugged each other or even made eye contact. Their relationship, whatever it was, however you defined it, was a thing of the past.

These two, mother and daughter, shared very little memories. There was a faint glimpse of laughter at a hotel during a weekend visit to town, a memory of a home shared where the two had resided in many moons ago and a connection via the usual exchanged cards, birthday and Christmas. Mother’s Days have came and went with a simple card mailed that said “Thinking of you with love.” There was even a phone call here and there made, with a gasp of surprise on either end to know they were, all these years later, connected, the bond somehow not totally broken.

Choices were made by the mother that led her life in a new direction, one that did not include her daughter. Choices were made by the daughter that excluded having the mother a part of her life, a part of her joys and her sorrows. She found others to confide in, to offer solace and to share memories of life with. These two lived, as if on separate continents but yet knew, in side, the bond of mother and daughter is never really broken. The years had been unkind to them both in many of the same ways and in different ways. But they both knew, in spite of it, their prayers were always inclusive of the other.

This mother grew up poor in money and rich in laughter. The daughter grew up much richer in money and short on laughter. Both had abusive husband experiences, hurt feelings from children disappointments, and health issues. Both shared vulnerability towards life and a sensitivity that lead to hurt feelings and wondering why life had dealt such a hard hand to them.

Then there was a twenty that is a twenty dollar bill in the mail. It was carefully tucked and folded inside of a birthday card that read ‘To daughter with love.” And this birthday, indeed, was special; it was one year out from a cancer diagnosis. This birthday left this daughter feeling grateful she was alive.

Cards had poured in the entire year from a mom besot with sadness that her daughter was going thru such a tough battle and she was powerless to do anything but say I love you in cards and letters to her daughter and remind her that she continued to pray for her healing from this battle. No phone calls were exchanged between the two, just an occasional update thru others to say ‘Your mom had more heart problems’ and a ‘Your daughter is quite sick from chemo.’

But that all changed, that day the twenty dollar bill came. It was a huge sacrifice from the mother to send that kind of money to her daughter, the one she had not seen in well over 37 years. She lived in a one bedroom apartment and struggled to make ends meet. In the midst of all this, she took and gathered up enough money to send her daughter that money with a note that said how very proud she was her daughter had fought the battle and won. It spoke in very few words of the love she felt brimming over for her daughter. Her daughter knew that day unlike every before; she was blessed indeed with a mother that loved her beyond words. She knew the twenty dollar bill would never ever be forgotten. It had arrived late because the mother had to wait to get paid to come up with the money. She told her daughter she wanted this birthday to be the most special one in her life. It was, because of this mother. It represented a token of her mother’s love. It proved without a shadow of a doubt that no number of years could take away the bond this mother and this daughter shared.
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