Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Very Special Birthday Card

Marge and Lorene were next door neighbors. They were homemakers raising their children side by side in the 1950s. A fence separated their tiny yards and each year Lorene planted morning glory seeds along the fence so by mid summer that chain link fence was covered in beautiful blue flowers. Heavenly blue to be exact. Through the years many neighborly conversations took place over that fence. Often as they hung their wash on the backyard clothesline these two women would chat with each other while holding babies on their hips and pinning clothes to the line. Once the clothes were in place and gently swaying to and fro in the warm summer sunshine the ladies would often retreat to one or the other of their kitchens to share a cup of coffee as they continued their conversation.
In February of 1956 Marge sent her friend Lorene a birthday card.
Lorene liked the card so well that come October she crossed off Marge's name and wrote her name and sent it back to Marge ~ just to be funny. They each got a little laugh out of that.

Apparently Marge liked the idea so the following February she did the same thing and sent the card back to Lorene.

It became a tradition that they kept up for many years. In fact so many that the card became full and they started a second card.

When Lorene moved away the card continued to travel across the states twice a year. Often after the signature a short sentence would follow. It might be a child's marriage, a new grandchild, a husband going to heaven and eventually a second husband joining the first husband. Year after year the card continued.

Many years later Lorene developed dementia and soon reached a point where many things were being misplaced or mysteriously disappearing, but somehow the card was never misplaced. The handwriting changed and the decline was becoming evident. Marge felt sad, but continued to send the card and also include a letter of care and concern to her dear friend.

Fifty three years later the card is in Lorene's possession. As her daughter I so wanted her to be able to return it to Marge on her October 17th birthday. Even though she had reached a point where she could no longer write very much, I thought I might be able to at least get her signature. Sadly, it wasn't to be. My dear mother began to decline rapidly in the last week and it was evident that there would be no signature this year. I signed it on her behalf and included a good old fashioned snail mail letter to our former neighbor, Marge explaining the situation.
I spent a good portion of the weekend at my mom's side as she became weaker. Yesterday the hospice nurse informed me that the end was near . Mom is now at peace. Life will never be the same without her, but I was able to be with her until the end. We all had a chance to pay our respects and tell her we love her one last time. For that I am grateful.
And now these three remain:
Faith, Hope and Love,
But the greatest of these is Love.
1 Corinthians 13:13


  1. Kim, I am so sorry that your mom passed away. Your love for her is apparent. Your tribute to the two friends is so sweet. I hope you are ok.



  2. Hard to type through the tears, but I just want to say God Bless you and your family. What a wonderful post...


  3. Dear Kim, I am so glad that your mom is at peace now, and I'm glad that you were there with her. As you know, my mom had Alzheimers and I lost her some years back. I had grown used to missing her and grew so weary of wondering if she were aware of anything anymore or if she were in pain. I was so relieved when the Lord took her home. I miss her now, but the pain has slowly been replaced by good memories. You have had a great deal on your plate in the last months and I will keep you and your sister in my prayers in the next few days.

  4. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family - May God's grace and peace be with you all!


  5. Consider yourself {{HUGGED}}, Kim! This is such a beautiful post that shows what a fun & thoughtful lady your Mom truly was.

    My parents exchanged the same anniversary card in the same manner for years!

    May the Lord's Peace be with you through this difficult time & may your memories of your Mom keep you warm & comforted.

  6. May she rest in peace. I lost mine in June so I know the feeling of loss. A good thing you were with her till the end. The story of the birthday cards is so touching.

  7. So sorry for you loss. The Lord be with you and your family during this time.

  8. Dear Kim
    I wish I could give you a big hug, as I'm sharing tears with you!

    I love the story you shared of your mom and her friend. My best friend and I do this..... we find a card that we love, because it says all the right words of love and affection....and we re-send it over and over...

    What a blessing that you were with your mom at the end of this life.
    Praise God your sweet mother no longer has Alzheimer's....she's whole again.

    Please know that you're in my thoughts and prayers.

  9. Oh, Kim, I am so sorry. My heart goes out to you. It's so hard to lose someone you love. I'll keep your family in my prayers.

    Your friend,

  10. I am so sorry. I know how close you were to your mom and how sad you must be. It must be comforting to know she is with God now and finally at peace.
    I pray for you and your family.

    I love the card story!!

  11. Hi Kim,

    What a beautiful, beautiful tribute to your Mom and her dear friend. I am so moved by your lovely post and just wanted to say thank you for sharing it.
    Blessings to you and your family,

  12. Kim, such a beautiful legacy that card is. I was already in tears reading about it when I realized where this post was going. I can't tell you how sorry I am. Please know that you are very much thought of and prayed for. Love, Twyla

  13. I am so sorry your mom passed. The card is just a great thing. God Bless.

  14. Oh, my goodness. Oh Kim, here I am rejoicing over the birth of my dear twins and here you are on the same day, having to say goodbye to your precious mother. I am so sorry!!!! Oh, it must hurt so badly. Both of us will never forget October 20th for two very different reasons. The story you shared was one of those heart touching posts that one will not forget. Again, I am sorry!

  15. Kim, I am sorry to hear about your Mom. I am glad that you were able to be with her at the end. What a wonderful legacy she leaves you, Cherish all those sweet memories. It will sustain you during this time.

  16. Kim, I am sorry sorry to hear of your Mother's death. It looks like you have some beautiful memories of her.
    Take care.

  17. Oh my goodness, my heart goes out to you. What a loving but sad story, Kim. My thoughts and prayers are with you.


  18. Kim, hugs to you! I'm so sorry that your Mom passed away. Thank you for telling us that beautiful story! Prayers and Hugs!

  19. Oh...I am so sorry that your mother is gone! My heart goes out to you.

    What a precious story you shared...of true friendship.

    Many blessings to you as you go through this most difficult time.

  20. My deepest sympathies, Kim! I know how hard it is to see someone you love so dearly fade away that way and even though you are prepared for the end it is never easy. My Mother-in-law suffered in the end from dementia, and our only consolation was that we card for her up to the last day and she knew she was loved.

    Marge and Lorene's story was so touching. I know they will meet again in heaven one day.
    {{{ Hugs}}} Pat

  21. Kim, your story just touched my heart so much. You wrote her story about the cards so well. I didn't expect it to end like it did. I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost my mom when she was 65 of cancer. I was with her to the end just like you. I understand your feelings so well. We will always miss our mothers but they will always live as long as we have our memories.

    Blessings and love to your family

  22. Kim- What a wonderful daughter you have been and will continue to be to the memory of your mom. You have had many hardships this year and I will continue to pray for you and your family.
    Much love,
    Laurel in Kingsport TN

  23. Kim, I'm so sorry to hear your Mom has passed away. What a remarkable neighbor she was and I'm sure a dear friend. You will always have those memories to reflect back on.
    She was fortunate to have such a devoted daughter. I know you will miss her.
    I've prayed for your Mom and sister and appreciated you sharing this with us.
    Our prayers are with your family.

  24. Oh Kim...I'm so sorry to learn of your Mom's passing. I know it's been so hard to watch her decline as you have. Lifting a prayer for peace and comfort for you and your family.

    What a beautiful tribute you've given in this post to your Mom and her precious friend.


  25. oh Kim I'm so sorry. I just can't believe it. I was so enjoying the story of the card...how sweet that whole story was.....and at the end when I realized what has happened.....my body just started to tingle. I'm so sorry for your loss, but I'm so greatful your sweet mom is at peace.

  26. Dear Kim,
    Big hugs for you and your family. Your post was exceptionally touching. Your love and devotion to your Mom is apparent. May all the sweet memories of Mom, fill your heart and soul with happiness and not sadness for she is "Mom" and will live forever in your heart.

  27. Kim, this is so sweet...such a touching post. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Also, thank you for your kind words to me. I really appreciate it!

    Barb ♥

  28. This is absolutely precious! Please accept my sympathy in the death of your mother.

  29. Dear Kim - I'm just reading your post now, and I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. This is really the nicest tribute anyone could write about their mom. Thinking of you - Barbara

  30. Hello Kim,

    I came over to visit after you left a comment on my blog about Plymouth. What a beautiful space. I looked to your right sidebar and immediately clicked on the word Alzheimer. What a beautiful tradition your mom and and your neighbor had. Thanks for sharing such a touching story. My mom had Alzheimer's disease and passed away in January, 2010. My husband, sister and her husband and I were by her side as she peacefully slipped away. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her but time does have a way to heal a grieving heart.

    Thanks so much for visiting me and leaving a comment I hope you will come back. I love taking drives through Plymouth and Northville. I'm going to look around your blog some more.




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