A depart­ment store with heart

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

Dear edi­tor,

Most of us com­plain about ser­vice in the stores, es­pe­cially shop­ping at Christ­mas­time. You’re do­ing the last minute Christ­mas rush and you can never find those last few gifts on the list, and where are those store clerks any­way? They’re al­ways hid­ing when you need them most.

Sound fa­mil­iar? I have a twist to put in that tale.

On Dec. 17, my mother-in-law passed away. I lived with her my whole mar­ried life — 34 years — and my hus­band Eric his whole 56 years.

Need­less to say, she was the cen­tre of our home. Ev­ery­one ral­lied around us dur­ing her last days and at the fu­neral. For the next week, af­ter all con­do­lences, were fol­lowed by com­ments such as “and now have your Christ­mas. Put your tree up. That’s what she’d want.”

We knew it was true, but as she would say, “we just didn’t have what it took.”

Grief is strange. It leaves you with what I call a rag doll feel­ing. Your strength seems di­min­ished and you can’t seem to get on with it — what­ever “it” is.

Eric and I were in that state on Dec. 22, won­der­ing which one of us could sup­port the other and get prepa­ra­tion for Christ­mas started. Our nephew dropped by and sensed our despair. His sug­ges­tion was to go up town and buy a lit­tle tree and call it Christ­mas.

Off we went. We tried a su­per­mar­ket and then the mall. No luck. Ne x t , w e w e n t to Wescal. That gone, lonely feel­ing in my stom­ach was pretty in­tense by now.

When we en­tered the store I saw Geral­dine Mahoney. With tearfilled eyes, I told her what we were look­ing for and how we felt. She found us a small tree with lights and called in the troops.

Five more clerks came from around the store and rounded up dec­o­ra­tions for our lit­tle tree. An an­gel was found for the tree­top and near the an­gel a patch­work heart read “Moth­ers are Spe­cial An­gels.”

The store staff com­pleted the dec­o­rat­ing but not un­til they as­sisted me with find­ing gift bags for all my un­wrapped gifts wait­ing at home for me to wrap in the wee hours. We paid our tab and with our spe­cial tree draped with a garbage bag headed home.

We spread a table­cloth over a box and erected our tree near the liv­ing room win­dow, where she al­ways sat to watch the boats com­ing in the har­bour. Her place in our Christ­mas was ter­ri­bly missed, but thanks to the staff of Wescal depart­ment store the loss was more bear­able and our hearts were warmed by a tree­top an­gel and a keep­sake Mother’s heart.

A spe­cial thank-you to the staff at Wescal and es­pe­cially Geral­dine Mahoney. We will never for­get your kind­ness. Pam Nor­man

Bay Roberts

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