30: A Slice of Heaven

30: A Slice of Heaven

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grieving and Recovery

A Slice of Heaven

Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.

~Author Unknown

As a mother whose son passed away six years ago, each special occasion is a struggle. I miss the wholeness of my family, finding myself wishing that all my children were together and we could share in the celebration of special days. One year, a week before Mother’s Day, I started to feel anxious over how I would handle another Mother’s Day celebration without my son. I did not want to waste another year of not fully enjoying a day honoring my mother and my mother-in-law, as well as “being in the moment” with our families. An idea popped into my head, which was a very non-traditional way of coping.

I made an unusual request of my husband. As Paul is very logical, I feared he would think I had gone over the edge, that I had finally lost my mind, but I have learned through my journey of grief to communicate my needs to others, no matter what the subject. Do not make the mistake of assuming what others are thinking or feeling. The openness of being able to relay your feelings to your loved ones is a key to finding your way out of the darkness of despair to the light of hope and joy. Not entirely confident of his response, I decided to e-mail my request to him for Mother’s Day. I asked if when he was buying a Mother’s Day card for me, he would also purchase a card from Andy. I told him to just listen to his heart and Andy would guide him to the right card. He did not reply, so I was not sure that my request would be fulfilled.

Mother’s Day I awoke and thought of the fun-filled day ahead of us. A trip to my sister’s to be with my family, which included my mother and father, my daughter and son-in-law and two wonderful grandchildren, my sister and her family, and my brother and his family—18 family members together to enjoy the first part of the day.

To complete the second part of our day, we would then travel to Paul’s parents’ house and spend special time with them. To have our two mothers living is a special present. The thought of Andy not being with us flashed through my mind and my heart then saddened with that reality. The phone rang, and my daughter in Dallas, who could not be with us, phoned and wished me a happy Mother’s Day. Her call helped me focus on the present instead of the past.

I turned from the phone, and on our kitchen island was a beautiful vase of flowers with two cards and two presents. My husband gave me his card and present. I am very lucky that after 21 years of marriage my husband still realizes how wonderful it is to hear that he loves and appreciates me as wife, friend, and mother to our children. I then turned to the other card sitting by the flowers and slowly opened the envelope. It was a lovely card and my husband had signed it with the exact same handwriting as Andy. Tears filled my eyes, but they were happy tears, not the tears of sadness. Paul then told me to open the gift. It was a kitchen knife, with the following note:


I wanted to get you something that would make you think of me. So I bought you a slice of heaven. Every time you are cooking and using the knife, I will be with you cooking some delicious concoction and slicing a piece of heaven. Hopefully you will think of me and know how much I enjoy cooking and that this gift will bring you as many years of joy as you have brought into my life.


Andy loved to cook and we often spent time laughing and talking with family and friends gathered in the kitchen. What a perfect gift! For that day, we were all together. With my husband’s compassion and willingness to indulge my “odd request,” I was able to enjoy Mother’s Day without a heavy heart.

~Jan Grover

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