Do what matters most to you


“Be the things you loved most about the people who are gone.”

— Anonymous

With the celebration of mothers everywhere, I am reminded of my childhood church. There was a long-standing tradition for each woman to be given a corsage upon their arrival at services on Mother’s Day.

Women who were fortunate enough to still have their mom were given a red corsage of lovely and fragrant carnations. Those who no longer had their mother were presented with a white carnation corsage to pin on their dress.


On the way home from church on one of those Mother’s Day Sundays, I spoke up about how much it hurt me to see the women who were given the white corsages.

“Why does that bother you so much?” my mother asked, as she removed her red corsage and let me hold it.

“Think how bad it hurts! As if it’s not bad enough that they already had to say goodbye forever to their mom, but now they have to be reminded they no longer have a mother anywhere in the world!”

My mom calmly explained to me that each one of those women know of that loss every single day, and white symbolizes the heavenly home of the mother who brought them into this world.

“And they will see their mom again, so don’t worry too much about this,” she said.

In an entirely different way on this Mother’s Day, my heart aches deeply.


A dear friend who I spent a lot of time with, side-by-side working on dental patients over the years, lost her only child in a tragic snowmobiling accident.

The two shared an incredible bond and were symbolic of what the mother-daughter relationship could be at its very finest. Their birthdays just one day apart, they had in January noted landmark 50th and 30th birthday celebrations.

On a day in mid-March, I received the tragic news. I am still reeling in disbelief.

How do you help mend that crush of brokenness?

This young woman had lived large, becoming a doctor and setting up a lovely life on a lake in Wisconsin, living her dream, caring deeply for her patients. Mother and daughter spoke daily, the miles between them never interfering in their happy connection to one another. I respect and adore them both.

Depth of life

I went to visit my friend, struggling with what I would say in the face of unfathomable loss, nearly crippling grief. Becky’s faith carries her through this life with such grace.

She accepted my Mother’s Day gift to her with sweetness, love and gratitude while reminding me life unfolds as it should, with a greater plan than we can see.

We recalled many of the amazing adventures and accomplishments of her incredible 30-year-old daughter.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words from long ago seem to speak of the large and happy life of this dear young woman: “It is not length of life, but depth of life.”

Do what matters most to you, and speak the words you want carried forward in the hearts of those you hold dear. We never know how many birthdays we will be given.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.



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