My Yearly Valentine

It’s no secret. Mother died in a bus wreck on Valentine’s Day. That was in 2003. The first year after was full of foreboding loss in all corners.

On the one year February anniversary, a week of seriously gloomy Texas skies dissolved into a soft Currier & Ives snowfall. The lawns and trees were covered in a mantle of pure and silent white. I had geared up for a weather delivered emotional wallop as February 14 landed. This first anniversary I was given a gift in the snow. Peace. Later that day the sun came out. The snow gave way to the blue shining Texas skies. I immediately felt God had sent me comfort in my sorrow. The rough places had been made smooth.

The day mother died I was on an island in the Caribbean for a friend’s wedding. My brother had left me a message to call him, but did not mention why. Phones were scarce and I caught a tram to the main hotel building to call back. On the tram I began talking to a man from Scotland. I excitedly told him that mother was a Scot, and I was proud to know that part of my ancestry. The man got off the tram before I did and as he left he spoke to me directly in a language I did not understand. Then he walked away. I looked back and he was gone. I now believe he was giving me a Gaelic farewell. What I believe now is that his farewell was angelic. In a few minutes I would learn of mother’s death. For reasons I would soon know, I was being told goodbye and to be strong. From Scot to Scot.

Today is February 14 again. It’s 2010. I’m not in Texas for the first time since 2004. In LA it’s sunny. Here there are hearts and flowers and all the usual February trimmings. No one here knows that Valentine’s is different for a small group of people in Texas.

Yesterday I went to the LA Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. Afterwards I had the chance to speak to Lloyd Ogilvie. Lloyd was pastor at Hollywood Presbyterian where I attended during the 70s and 80s. Lloyd is a Scot. My mother’s family is part of the Ogilvie clan which I was thrilled to relate. As we parted he gave me the Ogilvie clan parting. I can barely pronounce it. I certainly cannot spell it. He said it to me in English, “ fight to the end.” Don’t give up. I got the message. From Scot to Scot.

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