by Father Mark Goldasich
For all those people who made my mom cry this past week, all I can say is “thanks a lot.”
Whoa, I just reread that opening and, if you don’t know exactly what I’m talking about, you might get the wrong impression. Yes, my mom was crying this past week and, yes, people made her do that, but everything was good. No, actually, it was fantastic. You see, my mom celebrated her 95th birthday on April 12 and was literally overcome by all the people who remembered her.
You might recall that Mom moved into an assisted living apartment about a month ago. She handled that move with great grace and determination. A big part of her heart, however, will always be on Strawberry Hill in Kansas City, Kan.
She was excited early last week to get a few birthday cards. Then, she got a few more the next day. And they just kept coming . . . as did, she said, “the tears of happiness.” She was on cloud nine. She heard from fellow parishioners at St. John the Baptist, from her “neighborhood church” friends at Holy Family, from relatives, from my parishioners at Sacred Heart, from her wonderful longtime neighbors, and from others too numerous to count.
Unfortunately, she didn’t have a birthday cake. She had three! And then there were flowers, candy, ice cream and even a glittery crown. Oh, yes, and a good number of visitors, too. She shed so many tears that I’m surprised she’s not dehydrated.
I was fortunate to read those heartfelt words in the cards. The printed sentiments, however, paled to the handwritten notes inside. Heck, they even brought tears to my eyes. I felt so grateful for these thoughtful people.
The cards also made me feel guilty. Seeing how much joy those birthday greetings brought to Mom made me kick myself for all the opportunities I’ve squandered over the years to drop a note to people on their special days.
Isn’t it funny how important the little things are in life? They often make the most lasting impact. Mom has already mentioned that she’ll be thumbing through the cards over the next few weeks in order to savor them all over again. And I’m certain that the tears will reappear as well.
This Easter season is a particularly appropriate time to bring a little joy and light into someone’s life. As we see new life erupting
up all around us — in the green grass and the blos- soming Bradford pear trees and flowers — let them be a reminder to “spring” into action and beautify another person’s day.
I know just where I’m going to start. I have a slew of Easter cards that I intended to send out. Frankly, I never get to them since the days before Easter are a little busy for a priest. Well, this year I fully intend to send those cards out . . . with a little modification. Where it says, “Happy Easter,” I’m adding the word “Season.” That covers me until May 19, the feast of Pentecost and the official end of the season of Easter.
Sitting in your desk drawers may be unsent Easter, birthday, get well, sympathy or even Christmas cards. Dig them out. Go ahead, if you must, and use one sen- tence to bash yourself: “I’m sorry this is so late.” Then pen a few other sentences capturing a little of your life or expressing an appropriate sentiment. Believe me, you’ll feel virtuous for sending it (finally!) and I can just about guarantee a smile on the recipient’s face.
Unless, of course, it’s my mom. She’ll just let loose another flood of those happy tears.