The Me I Used To Know
My life was filled with many things
People, places I must go,
I was happy, as many are,
I hadn’t yet lost
The me I used to know.
Then came that spring
Turned into darkness,
Empty arms for the child that I loved so,
In losing him, I lost myself
The me I used to know.
Through all these years
Seasons come and seasons go,
But as for me,
I can never go back and become
The me I used to know.
©2000 Lynn McCurdy
When my son, Ken, was just a little boy, his granddaddy gave him a tin of wheat pennies. From then on, he was forever on the lookout for them. Since his granddaddy also collected them, I think that was a special bond they had between them. One Saturday afternoon at an auction, he found an old, yellow crock with a lid on it and was so tickled to get it! He put his pennies in there in there and would add to them. They remain in that crock to this day.
Ken died from AIDS two days after his twenty-fifth birthday. I was numb for a very long time after his death. I felt as though a slab of ice surrounded my heart, and I didn’t know if I would really feel real emotions ever again. The pain was so raw … so unforgiving … so constant … and I couldn’t verbalize it. I’d never felt anything like it before. I felt like a robot - she walks, she talks, but she isn’t really here. I could see myself as in a distance, but it didn’t seem like me at all. Eventually, the “ice” began to slowly thaw, but life was not the same. My baby - the little boy who had grown up to be such a handsome, gentle, caring young man - was gone from me forever. Never again would I be able to hug him, kiss him, or see his brilliant smile. My husband had lost his buddy, our daughter had lost her brother and friend, and I had lost my boy.
After he died, I started looking for signs from him. Something, anything that would let me know he was OK and that he was still close by. In the past 10 years, I’ve come across many signs, and most of them have involved pennies.
Before Ken died, I’d had photographs of both of our children in many albums and in frames all around our home. After he died, it was very painful to look at those pictures. I have collected “Mother and Child” paintings through the years because I loved seeing the love expressed between a mother and her children. It was all so different after his death. The photos and paintings were so painful to me. What had once represented fun, happy moments in time now seemed to mock me. They showed the life we’d once had and would have no longer. Our family was now reduced by one person, and we would never again see his smile or hear his laugh.
During those first years of intense pain, I removed those pictures of Ken as a young man, but I did keep out two pictures of him as a baby. I stored away all the photos in containers in a closet and thought I would never look at them again. At the time, I wondered if I’d ever hear his voice in my head again either. I was afraid I couldn’t remember the sound of it.
Several years ago, I needed a photograph for a project I was working on. Of course, this led me back to those containers I’d stored away long ago. By the time I got down to the last container, I found myself surrounded by pictures of both children … moments captured at Christmas, birthdays, Halloween, parties, family outings, fun times with family and friends … all smiling, happy faces! As I reached the last few photographs and gathered them up in my hand, I saw two wheat pennies lying there at the bottom of the container. As my fingers tightened around those pennies, I heard Ken’s voice in my head saying, “Mom, we sure had fun!” What a precious gift I had just received - and it was priceless!
©2000 Lynn McCurdy
Penny From Heaven
A shiny penny on the floor,
It dropped, I know from where,
With all the energy you possess,
I know you placed it there.
I miss you so, my little boy,
Did you hear my cry?
And hoping to ease my aching heart,
You placed the penny so close by?
No one else could ever know,
The pain within my heart so sore,
But it has been eased somewhat,
By the penny on the floor.
©1997 Lynn McCurdy
This is a true story. Ken died in March, and his sister’s birthday was three months later. I had some birthday gifts already for her, but I felt I needed to get maybe one more thing. Mac and I went to my favorite store, and as we went inside, I was not thinking of anything in particular to buy. As I looked towards the center where the glass cases filled with jewelry were located, I could see a bright, shining light reflecting against the black velvet inside the shelves. It just drew me towards it. It seemed to come from somewhere up above, yet was only shining on the one object. I asked Mac if he could see the light, and he said he couldn’t. I went up to the shelves and asked the salesgirl if I could look at the object (I didn’t even know what it was at the time). As she reached inside, I did hear her say that it must be new because she didn’t remember seeing it before. When she handed it to me, I could see that it was a heart-shaped angel pin. I asked her how much it was, and she went to check because it didn’t have a price on it. The owner of the store (who bought everything in it) came out to help. After looking at the pin, she said she didn’t remember buying it. They looked to see if there was anything else that resembled it so they could tell me how much it cost, and there wasn’t anything. Finally, the owner quoted me a price that was quite reasonable. However, I was holding onto that little pin, and it wouldn’t have mattered what price she’d told me. Mac knew it too. It was all just so odd. I did ask if they had seen a light or had a light anywhere around that would be shining there, and they both looked around and said no - they didn’t have a light.
When we got out of the store, there was a little feather lying on the hood of the car. Now the way the car was parked under the overhang of the store, Mac said the bird would have had to be flying sideways to lose its feather that way. We both just felt it was a sign from Ken. I’ve never bought jewelry for myself and wear very little, but I have bought it for Cam, so this wouldn’t have been an unusual thing for me to do. However, I couldn’t get that little pin out of my mind. When we got home, I took it upstairs so I could wrap it for her. However, I didn't and every little bit, I would go up and hold it and look at it. I thought I would wait until the next day to wrap it, since that was her birthday.
During the night, I keep waking up and thinking of that little pin. It just seemed so magical to me, somehow. When the alarm went off in the morning, I said to Mac, "I don’t think I can give it up!" He told me I didn’t have to give it up. He thought it was OK to keep it. So I put it on and wore it, and I felt good about it. When Cam came over for her birthday dinner and I gave her all of her presents, I told her she would have had one more. Then I told her what had happened and how I felt. She was so sweet. She gave me a big hug and told me, "Mother, that pin was meant for you. Ken wanted you to have it." I do believe he led me there and tried to let me know he was with me and he was safe. I collect heart-shaped things and angels, and somehow I will always believe that he “arranged” for that angel pin to be there. It sure got me through some very bleak days, and I wear it to this day.
©2002 Lynn McCurdy
An Angel's Light
An angel's light shined from above
Showing me the way to love.
For I sought a gift so rare
For the sister that our son did care.
It guided me to a heart-shaped pin
A tiny angel was resting within.
A birthday gift this was to be
Given with love to my daughter from me.
Not a person in the store
Had ever seen this piece before.
They knew no price to place upon
This gift I knew was from my son.
That night I dreamt of that little pin
And felt the wonderous light within.
For heart-shaped things I did possess
And cabinets filled with angels did rest.
I didn’t know what I should do
How could I not give this gift to you?
With gentle words, you set me free,
"This pin is yours; it never did belong to me."
© 2002 Lynn McCurdy
" Go With The Flow" ~ Ken's favorite expression.
A Penny's Worth
The story behind "An Angel's Light"
All photographs are copyrighted by Mac McCurdy,2002-2006.
All poems and writings are copyrighted by Lynn McCurdy, 2002-2006.
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