Thankfully, a friend recently found some misplaced bows that I had made that she kept in her basement after she had helped me switch out the bows on the trees with holiday ones. I was happy that she had found these bows and was returning them to me now.
The "memory trees" are located in the area where my daughter landed after being struck by a distracted driver just around the corner from our home in 2008. Wrapping these trees with ribbon and bows has been very important to me, since the loss of my girl, and I looked forward to lacing the now bare trees with the bows found by my friend.
So, my young daughter of 9 and I went to decorate the trees and as I carefully wrapped the ribbon up and down the trees and tied on the bows, I thought about and remembered my Erica who loved sunflowers and owls, so of course these are what I added to the bows.
After the trees where decorated, my little one returned to the house. As I walked slowly behind her, I noticed a rock that I had not noticed on our way to the trees laying in front of me in the grass. I didn't see this rock before, had it been there all the time? Looking closer at the rock, I leaned down to pick it up and found that it was perfectly broken in the shape of a heart.
Since the death of my sweet, adoring Erica in 2008, I have been seeing and finding heart-shaped things regularly, including a foam-shaped heart in my latte, heart-shaped clouds and heart-shaped rocks. While on vacation with my family, I found 9 heart-shaped rocks - all colors, all sizes. When I find these hearts, I always feel like they are gifts from Erica, as they remind me that she is still a part of us and that surely she thinks of us, as we think of her.
This past week, I spoke to a group of city employees about the dangers of distracted driving. It is always difficult for me to share my story of loss, because it is another reminder that Erica is no longer here with us, it brings back very painful memories, but I must share our story with the hope that somehow something I share may encourage a driver to not use their cell phone while driving, which just may save a life.
As I think about the many "heart-gifts" that I have found over the years, I am reminded that though Erica is no longer here with us, she lives on in our hearts and memories. Finding these simple little gifts of the heart warms and comforts me, and I can't help but wonder, if these are gifts designed by Erica herself to remind me of her never-ending love for me, her broken-hearted Mom.
Though this recent find wasn't a perfectly heart-shaped rock, for me it was the "perfectly broken rock," because it looks like a heart and there are parts that are smooth and polished and there are parts that are jagged and broken; a heart that I can efinitely relate to, since the loss of my beloved daughter.
When I got back home from the memory trees, I sat on the porch rubbing my fingers over the edges of the rock. This little rock is how I see my heart now; sometimes smooth and polished, yet jagged and broken. I am grateful that I found this "perfectly broken rock," because it's just like me.