As I sit down to write this story, my husband is outside mowing the lawn. The smell of the freshly cut grass is drifting through the windows and into the room where I type. April is here and spring is in full bloom. Flowers are beginning to fill the air with their sweet fragrance and the earth is fresh and new. The harsh cold winter is but a distant memory. I can not help but think how much I love the birth of Spring. For me, however, Spring, and April in particular, brings with it bitter sweet memories and one of my life’s greatest mysteries.
Long before cell phones and internet, in a time when a long distant phone call was a special event, the sound of the phone ringing on a Sunday was music to my ears. It was usually a call from family that lived in another state. We were quick to share the events of the week and exchange loving sentiments toward one another. Sometimes the whole family would gather around the phone and take turns talking to one another. Everyone speaking as fast as they could just to make sure you did not run up the phone bill. Oh how I loved my long distance phone calls from my family every weekend. But not all calls came on the weekends and not all calls were good. Some bring with them life altering news.
Many years ago we received such a phone call. It was the middle of the week in mid-April 1991. When the phone rang, it was from my parents who were living in Virginia Beach. They called to tell us that my forty-nine year old mother was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. They further went on to say she was given only six months to live.
Within a matter of seconds our whole life changed. I took a leave of absence from my job in the hearing aid business and within 24 hours I was stepping off a plane in Virginia Beach and into the embrace of my parents and brother.
I quickly realized that the situation was grim and I was needed there. So without any hesitation my husband, John, packed up our young children and drove from Middle Tennessee to Virginia Beach to join me. The children and I would stay for the next few months as John had to return to work.
Five months passed and John and I only got to be together one more time before my mother would take a turn for the worse. Although I missed my husband dearly the time I had with my mother passed far too quickly.
Then, three days before my mother died, she was admitted to the hospital. My back hurt from sitting long hours with her, so I went to the ER downstairs to see what I could do for it, when much to my surprise I found out I was pregnant. The last voice my mother would ever hear was mine, whispering in her ear, “MOM, I AM PREGNANT.” Mere hours later, she was gone.
John and I told no one about my pregnancy and kept the secret throughout the funeral. My grief was unbearable and I sought prayers from everyone. Then while a complete stranger was praying with me, she stopped and said she felt the need to tell me that the baby I was carrying would be healthy and it would be a baby girl. Remember, NO ONE KNEW.
Fast forward one year to mid-April 1992. Another long distance phone call. This time it was me calling my father and brother to tell them that I had just given birth to a healthy 6 pound 12 ounce baby girl. A daughter I named after my mother, Connie.
We all gathered around the phone and shared in both tears of joy and tears of sorrow. We marveled at the fact that it was exactly one year ago when my mother got the bad news of her cancer. “What a difference a year makes,” we all exclaimed.
In the time that I have been sharing my stories with the Greeneville Sun readers, I have had the pleasure of people stopping me to share their life experiences. I have heard many stories of hope and inspiration and many stories laced with great mystery. Stories that are as unique as you and I and stories that many of us can relate to. One particular theme that keeps coming up is about these beginnings and endings.
So, on the eve of my youngest daughter Connie’s birthday, I remember that Spring and “Springtime” refer to the Season, and also to ideas of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and regrowth. Life is Mysterious, consistently changing, yet always mysterious.