Last summer My mother died suddenly at 62 on my birthday. The fog of grief is hard to shake, but I had a beautifully bittersweet mystery I solved recently that taught me a lesson.
My mom owned a flower shop my whole life and as a kid I helped, and on Valentines Day every year we would make a stop out in the middle of a back country road, and leave roses in a field. Growing up, you don’t have the sense to ask questions why.
Right after she died, I was scrolling thru Social media and caught a post from a stranger mentioning my mom and it completely took me off guard. “I lost a wonderful friend last week, a beautiful woman named **** and she was the woman that stayed with mom and dad Valentines of 1985 that night until help arrived”
It dawned on me I never asked questions, and now I was going thru the painful experience of learning I didn’t have a mother- I wanted to know what was so special to my mom about that field and this stranger.
I went into newspaper archives, and pulled local newspapers from the Week of Valentines of 1985 Immediately, I saw on the front page the news article. See below redacted article
My mother had come down the dark back country road to deliver her last Valentines roses for the night, and drove across the bend and her headlights shined right on a man as he pulled out a shot gun and shot his wife in the face on the side of the road in the corn field, and then he shot himself. She pulled over- Mom sat in the dark field for an hour waiting for a passerby , next to the woman as she died. She didn’t want to leave her in her last moments, as she was still clawing at the ground as if trying to get away. Eventually the police and coronor arrived.
When I finished reading the article and saw the last line listing the name of coroner; I immediately called my best friend and asked her if she knew him– because the unusual last name was her maiden name. It was her uncle. He was still alive, and kindly spoke to me about that day. Due to the graphic nature of the murder, he remembered that day in 1985 crystal clear detail. He especially remembered the kind woman who sat with the bodies, driving her home late that night because she was so shook up. Here my adult best friend and I had a childhood connection and didnt know.
Last night I drove to the spot in the field in the dark and I was terrified. I felt healed suddenly of my grief because I realized how strong my mom was to be out there alone with the bodies, and carried the experience with her selflessly for 35 years.
I have now befriended the family descendants. I promised to the family to continue the tradition every Valentines day, leaving roses at the field, and reminding myself of that beautiful strength