A department store with heart
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