As I was sitting in the pediatrician’s office last Friday trying to figure out the mysterious fever and sore throat my son had, I got a call from an unknown number on my cell. This doesn’t happen very often and when it does, I generally ignore the call. I’m not often a fan of talking to people I do know on the phone, so there is no way I want to talk to someone I don’t.
A few moments later, I heard my voicemail tone. Since the doctor wasn’t with us and my kids weren’t being monsters, I went ahead and listened to the message. I figured it was probably the library calling to tell me that yet another item I had requested had come in (this sounds like a good thing, except that I’ve had a fairly dry spell at the library all summer and suddenly in the last week, four different books I’ve been waiting for are now ready for me to check out). To my complete and utter surprise, it was a florist, at my house, wanting to deliver, well, flowers.
Now, I have a pretty darn good husband, but he’s not exactly a roses kind of guy. He used to buy me flowers, back when we were dating, but even then, he thought flowers were kind of a waste of money since they died so quickly. He’d rather buy me something that lasts. I knew they couldn’t be from him, so I was thoroughly perplexed.
When I got home, my confusion continued. There, on my porch was a lovely arrangement of carnations and lilies, all wrapped up in cellophane. I hurried to get them open so I could grab the card. There was a card, but all it said was “Just because.” No name, no city, nothing else. It wasn’t even handwritten (not that handwriting would help as I could only identify like four people’s handwriting ever and one of them is dead).
I’d been having a bit of a rough time of it, so I thought, maybe, just maybe, my husband had turned over some freakish spontaneous new leaf, but when I texted him about my flowers and their lack of card, his response was “weird.” Yeah, that pretty much took him off the table.
My son thought maybe my best friend had sent them (in all fairness, he knows like six adults). Now, she does love flowers and has always been the kind of gal to just stop off at a flower shop to buy some daisies or lilies. However, I figured if she was going to get me flowers, they’d come in a vase from her house and they’d most likely be a grouping of tulips or daffodils she got while at Trader Joe’s, not a professionally arranged bouquet. Sure enough, when I texted her, she thought I might have a secret admirer (which was actually my son’s first thought…not sure where he got that from).
I tried to call the florist to see if the card had been left at the shop, but sadly the flowers had been ordered online and sent with no card. She apologized, but was glad I liked the flowers.
The list of people who might send me flowers, especially “just because” was shrinking quickly. I’d had dinner with three school friends the night before and just told one of them my step-mother had passed. Now, when my father died less than a year ago, this same friend sent me a beautiful arrangement which arrived just hours after she found out. In addition, she jumped in her car and drove an hour just to check on me. I thought it could have been her. Still, she’d just seen me the night before and we’d already commiserated together.
I was almost ready to give up my quest when I remember the modern day Sherlock Holmes at my fingertips: Facebook. I made a comment about the lovely anonymous delivery and within minutes I got a text from my aunt asking me what they looked like. When she told me the name of the arrangement “Light of my Life,” I let a few tears fall. The mystery had been solved.
It was my aunt, who at different points in my life has been mother, sister, and best friend all rolled into one. It was my aunt, who knew just how much I was reeling from the loss of two parents in less than a year. It was my aunt, who’d been right there with me as we made a final visit to my parents’ house and watched years of memories slip away from us as we locked the door a final time and pulled out of the driveway. It was my aunt, who had no doubt spent far more sleepless nights this summer because she’d been left with the daunting task of trying to sort out my step-mom’s affairs since my step-mom had no blood family of her own left. It was my aunt who, lost not only her brother and her sister-in-law, but also her best friend. It was my aunt, who knew just how much I was hurting and needed that lift, because she was hurting right along with me. And, it was my aunt, who wanted to remind me even though this has been the worst year of my life and that I’d lost so much, I still had her, no matter what, because I was “the light of her life.”
This is why I love my aunt…just because.