My wife recently washed a glass mason jar in the sink and set it on the counter.
“Do you know where that jar came from?” she asked me.
The answer didn’t come to me right away.
“This was the jar of strawberry jam that Andi gave us. Didn’t her mom make that?”
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I am not a fan of sultry summer days, but in the dead of winter, when whisps of stale snow blow across the street, and every pond has a thick skin of ice, there is something appealing about walking around in shorts and feeling the sun hot against your face. I find myself thinking about summer.
This past summer my kids went on a toast-for-breakfast kick. And their jam of choice? The fresh strawberry jam which Andi gave to us, the jam that her mother made from scratch.
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We traveled to Rochester the week of Thanksgiving this year, but I kept an eye on Andi’s blog. Her mom was dying of cancer. Then I went a few days without getting on line, too caught up in our own celebrations and late-night revelry to pay attention to the outside world. Black Friday at Target was a storm. Finally, Saturday the 27th, I made the rounds to my favorite blogs.
I read Andi’s Thanksgiving Day post:
Mom passed away at 4:30 this morning. Dad woke me, and I rushed to her. I laid one hand on her chest and one on her face. She was not there…
Yet, on this day of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the healing that will, inevitably, come. I am grateful for the complete healing and perfection that Mom now lives in…I am grateful in this massive grief that there is something – something amazing – beyond it.
Now, to walk through the shards of pain that pierce my heart, to absorb them into myself, to build scar tissue that will heal and strengthen my flesh.
I thought that this was perhaps one of the bravest things I had ever read.
* * * * *
I stare at the empty mason jar. In the summer it was messy and sticky from the kids attempts to make their own toast. Now, in the winter, it is clean as crystal. The glass is smooth and unwavering.
I think about this small gift that Andi and her mother gave to us.
I think that we will be remembered by what we give.