Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Gift of a Memory

I read in the paper today a really touching article. Someone's mom was turning 84 years old. Her daughter was wondering what to get her for her birthday. She didn't want to get her more "stuff". At 84 years old what did she need? Her mom had survived several strokes and is now dying of lung cancer. It is probably her last birthday. What would make it special?

Then, as thoughtful daughters often do, she thought about a memory her mother had spoken of frequently. In the 1930's her mother had ridden on the back of a motorcyle. She remembered the ride as being one, if not the, most thrilling moment of her life. She loved the speed, the wind rushing past, and the freedom of it all. Her daughter decided she would give her mother a memory for her birthday.

She placed in ad on Craig's List for someone who would like to give a granny a motorcyle ride. A man, 65 miles away saw the ad. His mother had recently died of cancer, and the ad touched his heart.

Not wanting to spring it suddenly on Mom, her family told her the day before her birthday that she was going on a motorcycle ride. The man showed up on a huge Harley Davidson. The Mom was scared to get on it. When he asked her if she was ready to ride, she said no. It looked quite different from the motorcycles in the 1930's! But being the free spirit I suspect she was, she was coaxed onto the back of the bike and went for her second thrilling ride on the back of a hog.

Her husband watched from the doorway with tears in his eyes. He'd nursed her through chemo and radiation, and hoped the memory of this ride would give him another six months with her.

This was one gift that won't get thrown away, given to Goodwill, or end up in a yardsale. The Mom, her family, and the dear man who took the time to give a stranger a ride, will all remember this day, this memory, for many years to come.