The Value of a Gift

A friend of mine lost his mother to cancer in February 2008. In July 2012, this friend celebrated his future in a beautiful wedding ceremony. To honor his departed mother on this occasion, several former college classmates and I made a small donation in his mother’s name to the local church where she participated actively during her life. Echoing the type of person my friend is, he sent the following thank-you note in response to our gift:

Spoiler alert that this is somewhat of a sappy email.  In any event, I wanted to send you all a sincere thank you for the card and donation in honor of my mother.  It was incredibly thoughtful of all of you and very touching.  I apologize it’s taken me so long to send this note.

As those of you that are married can probably attest, there are a lot of moments of reflection post your wedding.  Some tend to be random funny thoughts that pop into your mind from time to time;  others, at least in my experience, have been more lasting impressions that more or less define the day.  This latter bunch for me was largely images of a nice ceremony, good weather, good food, beautiful bride, and general merriment with a hint of debauchery.  I did however find myself adding to this latter group of impressions, an emptiness that my mother was not able to partake in the ceremony.  I had prepared myself for this obvious occurrence for quite some time leading up to the wedding, but the feeling and impression still lingered in the back of my mind.  I struggled as we planned the wedding on how to commemorate her, and erred on the side of subtlety.  Perhaps I had been too subtle though, and didn’t pay sufficient respects. 

When I received the card / donation you guys sent, it truly lifted my spirits and helped remind me that my mother was indeed part of the ceremony, and through your actions, is indeed being remembered.  Your gesture came at the just right time.  It really has left a lasting impression on the entire wedding and when I think about my mother’s involvement, I’ll think of her looking down fondly, some words my dad and I shared before the ceremony, and the thoughtful gesture that came from you all after.  Just wanted to say thank you to you all, it was unexpected and extremely gracious. 

I read this note often. Sometimes I read it for encouragement during a long day at work. Other times I read it to remember the impact of a meaningful gift. Regardless, whenever I finish the note, I’m proud to have participated in the gesture.

Yes, my friends and I donated a small sum of money. More importantly, though, we showed someone close to us that we cared by our action remembering his mother on one of the most important days of his life.

Please share your favorite stories of giving and what they mean to you.

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