I wish you could've known her. She and I were very close my entire life. Mom was the most caring, loving human being I have ever known. She noticed you. If you seemed to be having a bad day she went out of her way to uplift you. If you were the checkout clerk being given a hard time by a customer, she walked around the checkout stand, gave you a hug and told you, you were doing a great job. If you looked downcast she would tell you, you were beautiful. Mom had a special gift of encouragement and a heart of compassion.
Mom loved to sing and was known as the most senior member of the church choir, and most beloved. She was a tiny woman with an enormous heart. Mom was a woman of faith who prayed unwaveringly for her family and friends. She emulated love and kindness. All who knew her said she was such a SWEETHEART.
I flew 1,400 miles to say my final farewell to my dear, sweet Mother. When the time came to leave her side and return home, I held her hand and placed a gentle kiss on her brow. I said, "Mom, the next time I see you will be in Heaven. We will sing in the choir together." She opened her eyes and with one final loving look, smiled weakly and said in a barely audible voice, "We'll sing a duet".
On February 3rd the call came that congestive heart failure had won the battle and I made my way back across all those miles. As we made arrangements, I realized that we were to lay her to rest on February 14th, Valentine's Day. My brother said, "It is so fitting because she was such a sweetheart." He was right. Valentine's Day has a whole new significance now.
In my grief, I went home and made necklaces with vintage heart lockets. As I sold them, women told me stories of why the piece they chose was significant to them for their own mothers. One lady was the mother of a preemie in the NICU and the necklace she bought represented her own mother heart. She would put her baby's picture in the locket. Each person was touched in some way by the significance of the necklace they chose. My mom was still reaching out and touching the hearts of others. Of all the necklaces I made, there was one I could not part with. It was a small gold heart locket with 2 hearts entwined on the front. I had suspended it inside a rhinestone teardrop. Somehow, all of this helped to soothe my heart.
My heart entwined with Mom's resting inside a teardrop.
The following year I found myself making jewelry with every heart I could find. I believe that Mom gave me the inspiration to use them to help others. As I pondered the analogy of congestive heart failure, Heart and Stroke month and Valentine's day, the SWEETHEARTS for Heart and Stroke concept materialized. I knew this is something that Mom would love. This is to honor her memory as the SWEETHEART she was. She is the inspiration behind each design and I visit with her as I create them. So you see, when you purchase a piece from this collection, you not only contribute to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. You also receive a piece of my Mother's heart and mine, entwined.
This is one of my favorite pictures because it's how I view Mom now, watching over me.
No doubt many of you can relate to losing someone you love to heart failure/disease. Together, we can make a difference. Purchase a Valentines gift for yourself or someone you love and support The Heart and Stroke Foundation.
General donations for the Heart and Stroke Foundation are also gratefully accepted through the SWEETHEARTS campaign. If you would like to match or add to Vintage Bling's donation, email me for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more details, please visit my Special Feature page.
(This fundraising effort is registered with the Manitoba chapter of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. It runs from Feb 1 - 28.)
Here are some of my original heart necklaces:
The monogrammed initial is an 'A'. The woman who bought this said her mom's name started with an 'A'.
The mom who's baby was in the NICU said she would put baby's picture inside and wear it till baby came home.
This woman's mother had been a cameo lover.
Each of these heart necklaces found their way to the dear ones who were meant to have them. I think my mom had something to do with that. It moved me to tears every time I heard their stories because I knew how much Mom would have cared. Her heart lives on.