A Promise Kept

A promise is an unbreakable vow that links two hearts.

In 1987 I gave birth to my second child.  She came a month early and was a mere 5lbs.  She was her grandmother, Linda’s, first and only grandchild and to her, this child hung the sun, moon and all the stars in the sky, shown just for her.

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Linda meeting her granddaughter for the first time.

I called this woman mom long before I was her daughter in law.  In Jr High, I tried out for and became a cheerleader with my friends,  one of which was Tammy.  I hung out at her house a lot as both my parents worked and Linda was her mom.

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Me & Tammy, supporting the pyramid

She sewed white silk shirts with small blue stars for our cheerleading uniforms and made each of us blue and white pillows with our school mascot on them for our dorm rooms at SMU Cheerleading camp.  She treated me like her own, loved me like it and would get my behind if I needed it and I loved her and called her mom even then.  Years later I would marry Tammy’s  little brother.

Just before my daughters first birthday, Linda had an accident and was due for surgery when the pre- blood work came back oddly.  With further testing, it was discovered that she had stage 4 terminal colon cancer.

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The next year was a carnival of surgery, chemo, radiation and experimental treatments that drained her health as the cancer spread its tendrils throughout her body.  She knew she was fading but she strived for one thing more than any other, to survive long enough to see my daughters 2nd birthday.

One day she called me to her side and placed an object in my hands with instructions to which she exacted a promise.  It was a tiny pink bible with a white, eyelet lace cover.  She had inscribed it inside and the promise required of me was this…Knowing she would not live to see the day, made me promise to keep it safely tucked away and give it to my daughter on her wedding day to carry with her down the aisle.

On May 29, 1989, at the age of 45, 12 yrs younger than I am today, she passed away.  I tucked the tiny bible into a chest of treasured things and the promise in my heart.

Although, the marriage didn’t last, I kept the bible and my word.  20 years later, I printed a poem I had written as I watched my then newborn sleep and slipped it between the pages of the tiny bible.  As I placed it in my daughters hand, I whispered , “Tell your father…..I kept my promise.”

As she walked the aisle on her wedding day, she carried it, with Linda’s love and mine, clutch within her hand and pressed closely to her heart.

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My Baby

Wasn’t it only yesterday
That I heard my baby cry?
The nurse held her up for me to see
Today she waves goodbye.

The little baby in my arms
That nuzzles to my breast,
The little arms around my neck
As I lay her down to rest.

Sleep eyes look up at me
In our rocking chair…
A little angel of my own
The answer to my prayers.

It seems like only yesterday
Although it has been years,
Memories of laughter,
Memories of tears.

Oh, wasn’t it only yesterday
That baby slept all night?
Today she’s walking down the aisle
All dressed in lacy white.

 

18 comments

  1. A moving tribute. So blessed to have someone like you share this. It is quite upsetting when I think that my sister was diagnosed, Stage 4 colon 5 years ago. 5 years after my diagnosis. Fortunately after that same carnival, she fought and survived. The advancement of chemo has come so far in such a short amount of time. My doctor even laments that it is too bad I couldn’t have it now as the meds have changed so radically that most of my side effects would not be a thing. It is just heartbreaking knowing that if she had todays meds, or even chemo from the last 6 years, result may be different. Not sure why I shared it, just thought it profound.

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    • I’m so glad for you and your sister! I’m grateful for the advances made that have given such hope, futures and kinder treatments. 20 years prior, lind had uterine cancer discovered when she hemorrhaged after giving birth. After having a full hysterectomy, she simply put it out of her mind and didnt continue check ups. She had been sering a chiropractor for a couple years for a “Back ache” that turned out to be a grapefruit sized tumor pressing on her spine. During surgery it was also discovered in her liver. It spread rapidly thereafter. I’m so grateful for the time we had in life, though I wish it had been longer and looking forward to our family reunion one day.

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      • 20 years is remarkable. Clearly there was a higher reason for her to survive all that time. Blows me away. I am a little paranoid of my “back aches” as well. That or well any pain that I have that is unprovoked. Like in my elbow right now. But as my brother in law always tells me “remember how much we abused our body playing competitive sports as long as we did. It is only a matter of time before our body makes us pay it back” which makes perfect sense when I consider where most of these pains come from. 🥺

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      • Boy, isn’t that the truth! Getting older is like randomly receiving a big fat bill for all the crazy crap we did as kids (and survived). I wonder if I knew the cost, if I’d have been more cautious. Then I die laughing at the thought. I probably would’ve found even more calamity to get into. I mean heck, if I’m paying for it anyway, may as well go for it. Lol

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh wow – what a way to make someone cry over their morning coffee!! This is beautiful and I am so glad you were able to keep your promise. It must have been such an amazing gift for your daughter on her wedding day.

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    • Oh thank you so much! A lot of life and circumstances happen in the course of 20 yrs and the fulfillment of the promise weighed heavily in my heart with fears of all the things that could happen to prevent it. A short term promise is do easy but who can foresee such a long term goal? It was such a weight, relief and profound labor of love to place in her hands that day and final gift given to my mother in law.
      Thank you so much for reading. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

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