Tonight, my plan was to post part II of A Time for Reflection.  But something happened today that was too special not to share, so I will post it tomorrow.

The weather matched my mood today: gray and cloudy, and cold.  I was feeling the weight of the recent shooting event, and other typical life stresses, and in addition, today marks three months that have passed since the death of my dear friend and co-worker, Deborah (Deb) Yund. 

Only Deb knows how many times I have looked at the 8 x 10" framed picture of her on the bookshelf, in our lending library at the office... for inspiration, guidance, or just to remember.  Deb was more than a co-worker.  She was a confidante, co-conspirator, mentor, and possibly the smartest person I ever met.  She made work fun, and everyone adored her.  Her death was unexpected, and has been extremely difficult to accept.

About a month ago, I was in the mail room at work, waiting for the printer to finish spitting out hundreds of copies.  Deb's empty mail slot caught my eye, and I felt that old familiar lump travel from my gut, through my chest, and into my throat.  I noticed a piece of purple paper, and on an impulse, began cutting out little purple paper hearts.  Purple was Deb's favorite color.  I wrote "I miss you" on each little heart, and slipped them into the mail slot.  I felt a little better knowing that, wherever she is, Deb got the message.

Within a few days, I noticed something: other hearts were appearing in Deb's mail slot.  Different colored little paper hearts, with little notes and phrases written on them.  The little collection grew as my co-workers paid their silent tribute to Deb, and I would smile every time I looked at her once-empty mail slot.

About a week ago, we had to move our little heart display as we needed her old mail slot for a new employee.  We put all of the hearts into a blue glass vase that sits in a place of honor on the bookshelf by her photograph, ready to be added to anytime.

Today, as I struggled with that same old lump in my throat, which kept threatening to spill down my cheeks, I posted a simple comment on my Facebook page: "It's been three months today. Deb, I miss you so much."  

After work, I stopped off at my daughter's house to pick up the grandkids.  While I waited for my granddaughter to find her shoes, I noticed I had a notification from Facebook on my phone.  I checked my Facebook page, and there, under my comment, were six comments from my friends.  No words, just hearts.  

My daughter wondered why I was bursting into tears, and I explained about the hearts we all gave Deb, and the hearts my friends gave me, and she said, "Maybe Deb is letting you know she is still around."

I agree, and it's more than that.  Love never dies.  No act of love is ever wasted, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem at the time.  That heart you post on someone's Facebook page, that smile, that five minutes of being a good listener, offering to help do some small thing... it all means something... more than you know.

At a time when most people I know are stressing out over gifts, love remains the greatest gift of all.  I wish everyone reading this love.

"...and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."  The Beatles

Thank you, Deb