I spotted it when I stepped out onto the front porch one morning this past week, in between trips to Houston. I noticed the fossil first, thinking it had fallen from its spot on the windowsill above the bench where it now rested.
Then I realized it had been placed there to hold down a handwritten note.
"...I wanted to drop you a note and let you know you and your family are in my prayers..."
It was from my longtime friend George. He has been making multiple trips from Houston to San Angelo to see his mother-in-law, who they discovered had lung cancer earlier this summer, and tries to vary it by taking different routes.
He left the note on Sunday. On Monday, a few hours after I found the note, his mother-in-law passed away. On Tuesday, while I said my last goodbye to my Daddy, he was on his way to San Angelo again, to help his wife say goodbye to her mother.
Considering my house is a mile down a dirt road, off of a small highway that twists and turns and isn't a shortcut between San Angelo and Houston by any means, it's a huge honor that he took the time to go that way to ease my pain over losing my dad, especially when he knew I wasn't home.
A few years ago in a post about friendship, I spoke of it as a garden that needs to be watered. Ever since then, we've referred to our infrequent emails as 'watering the garden'.
So on the back of the note he sketched a flower and added these words: "You are a daisy in my garden...May God continue to shine through you and give you Peace...Can you feel the water?"
All those years ago, when we worked on the high school yearbook together and planned to go sky-diving, we never imagined that one day our friendship would include these days of mourning each other's losses. And I'm glad we didn't.
However, I am so very grateful we're still friends, flowers in each other's gardens.
(Please keep George, his wife, and their family in your prayers!)
A good friend is a connection to life -
a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world.
Here are a few other bittersweets from my past week...
Sunday: joining with your siblings to support your mom after your father's passing; a safe journey home after a heartbreaking weekend
Monday: a day to immerse yourself in images from your father's life that will become a slideshow memorial; a safe journey back to your childhood home with two of your kids, and the safe arrival of two more
Tuesday: helping your mom prepare for your dad's funeral; an ice chest full of eggs, bacon, and biscuits waiting on your parents' doorstep, courtesy of a friend; a limo driver named Paul, who provides just the right amount of conversation on a tough day; friends who help you mourn your father; "Day is Done" by a solitary trumpet, in honor of your father's service to his country
Wednesday: breakfast, courtesy of and the friend who left the ice chest full of food on the porch the day before, and your son, who took his Granddaddy's place at the stove; fitting the huge schefflera plant from your Divas and other plants from friends into your car trunk; a safe journey home; Whataburger in LaGrange at sunset with your kids
Thursday: winning a book you wanted in a contest in your lead generation class; love, in the form of cards, waiting for you in your mailbox
Friday: lunch with new friends/colleagues; your new business cards waiting for you on the front porch; a walk with your puppies at sunset
Saturday: a day at home to catch your breath; your cousin traveling to see your mom and take her to lunch; tiny purple flowers shaped like Easter lilies
Sunday: Mass with your kids and hugs from your friends; cleaning and organizing sprees, even if they only make a dent; your husband making it home, safe and sound, after his own long journey to support his brother during a sad time
I hope your week has been full of more sweet!s than bittersweets. Share them here! If nothing else, look around at those you call friends, and give thanks.
“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”
~ Shauna Niequist