When Life Hands You Lemons: Gail McLaughlin
Words by: Gail McLaughlin
My ninety year old mother, Stephanie, who had always known good health, developed pneumonia in the spring of 2009. This vibrant woman became frail, losing her independence and vibrant way of life. It was at this same time that I lost my job of thirteen years. With two children in college, our family's financial burdens were considerable. My life seemed to have sprouted a lemon tree!
Although there was loss and sorrow with this adversity, there were blessings, too. Without a job, I was able to spend much of my time with my mom. That summer we spent endless hours under the shade of a large maple tree in her backyard. We reminisced about how she and me dad built that dream house in 1957, and how our young family grew and thrived there.
Stephanie shared stories of her youthful days and how she loved to dance. From tales as a tap dancer in the 1933 World's Fair, to adventures at the Trianon ballroom where she met my dad, Stephanie relived her youth. Under the leafy canopy of a beautiful tree, she was no longer a frail woman confined to a walker, but rather a lovely dancer at "the world's most beautiful ballroom"
Stephanie passed away in the October of that year, yet there isn't a day that passes that I don't give thanks for that job loss. The rich blessings that ensued would never have been possible in the workaday world. I'm left with only fond memories of the treasured time with my mom.