She was only 47 when she died, and people came from all over the country to pay their respects. The waitress who brought her morning coffee, the nurses who cared for her, perfect strangers who just heard about her…the line to the funeral home stretched around the block. Lynn did not know what she would do without her mother.
The first year's holidays came: Easter, Memorial Day and then Thanksgiving. Lynn, who lived alone, mourned. Would life ever be good again? Then, two weeks before Christmas, she realized that she was getting depressed. It was time to go out and be with people, no matter how difficult it might be. Lynn had enough gas, and a dollar and 60 cents in her purse. The mall was only ten minutes from the house, and as she got her coat, she saw the first perfect snowflakes starting to fall. Her spirit lifted. Maybe it would be a happy day.
The mall parking lot, of course, was packed with cars. Lynn parked in the center, but she didn't mind the walk. The snowflakes seemed to be dancing all around her, and again, she felt cheered. Once inside, she strolled, admiring the window displays, noting the families laden down with packages, calling to their children in this seasonal juggling act. Families were everywhere, and she was alone. But she didn't feel lonely. She felt…happy.
Eventually she approached a flower shop that had extended bouquets onto the mall floor. She could already smell the roses and carnations, two of her favorites. She had to have a flower, she thought, leaning forward to pick up a rose. It would remind her of Mom, of the good times they'd shared, of spring and the promise of new life. She reached for her purse, remembering that she had only a dollar and sixty cents. The price sign on the roses was evident: "$1.50 plus tax." Too expensive. "How much for a carnation?" she asked the clerk.
"A dollar apiece, plus tax," the lady answered, busily arranging vases.
Well, that was too expensive too. She might need her money for something else. People reached by her, buying flowers with abandon. Slowly, Lynn put the rose back in its vase. Oh, how she longed for her mother. Even being almost penniless wouldn't have seemed so bad if Mom had been at the mall with her.
She took a deep breath. Christ's birthday was just around the corner, she was fine and had had the pleasure of smelling some of God's most beautiful fragrances. That was enough for her first day out. Slowly she made her way out of the mall, and though the parking lot, now inches deep with snow. No plows had yet come through, it was difficult to see more than a few yards ahead, and people were walking with care. Lynn avoided the slush thrown up by passing cars, and at last, saw her own. Quickly she approached the driver's side…and stopped.
Lying in the snow right new to her car door, with flakes gracefully falling upon it, was an individually-wrapped red rose. No footprints anywhere around…and surely the rose had not been here long or it would have been covered. But who had seen her looking at the rose? Who knew of her longing, her loneliness? As tears rolled down her cheeks, Lynn understood.
"My mom had been watching me," Lynn says. "My Mom and the Lord. They made certain that I had a rose to take home, just because they loved me." They sent it on angels' wings.
Lynn still has the dried rose, some 10 years later. It does not have the beauty it once did. "But when I look at that dried rose today, it still brings me so much joy I cannot describe it to anyone," she says. "Praise the Lord for my flower angel."