The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Wreath My Mother Sent Me

by Rebecca Quivey, La Harpe

Special For The Quill

My mother sent me a wreath this year for Christmas. A very special gift that I love. Now to any of you that know me, this would seem quite impossible.

To those of you that don't know me, my mother has been dead for thirty-three years. It is true however, and this is what happened.

First some history so you will understand how amazing this gift truly is. My mother owned a flower shop here in La Harpe. I worked there with her from an early age and loved every minute of it.

It was called Carol's Flower Nook, and originated in a small room in our house and grew over the years until its final location was in the old clothing store building in the center of our business district. She never made a lot of money, but she loved what she did and was proud of her shop.

She even had special tags made up for her designs. A simple brown paper tag with a simply drawn owl (she collected owls) and the words "Carol's Creations".

My mother was killed in a car accident on a sunny Sunday morning in August of 1987. It was a day that changed my life forever and began my descent into depression. I ran the shop for a couple years after she died, but eventually closed the doors.

I suffer from severe depression. It became apparent after my mother died and has continued to deepen over the years.

It has been at its worst for the last five years or so. The face most of you see is in fact a mask that hides what I feel inside every day. It seems I lack the ability to find hope or joy in my life.

Reading my mom's old diaries I realize she too fought depression. She had a very strong faith in God, and wrote poetry about it.

Don't get me wrong, I do have moments of joy and happiness; grandbabies, my children and my husband, but the thing about depression is that it overshadows all the good forcing good to the back of your mind while the hopelessness and sadness jumps to the forefront.

At home and at work it is a constant struggle just to get through each day. Lately, I don't find joy in family or work; not even in church, the one place I think of as a safe haven and source of strength.

I ask God every day to help me find my way, and then often feel guilty for being so weak. My heart knows its the depression, my head not so much. I guess because thats where the problem is.

I struggle with feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness and total frustration that, at times, erupts into fits of extreme anger.

My girls try to keep me reigned in but even with their help it can happen at work. I can't help it when it happens and I always regret it after. (I have some very understanding employees).

I do feel love for others. I love my God, my family, my church and my community, but with my depression I don't feel loved back and can't find hope or joy in any of them.

After I closed the cafe and was at the grocery store full time, it has become even worse. Depression can be debilitating. I put off tasks that I know need done. I don't like to leave my house if I'm not at work. I don't want to do anything when I am home. I'm constantly exhausted, I could sleep all the time.

Most of the time I constantly put myself under pressure by waiting till the last minute to do everything, and it's all part of this insidious illness for which I take medication and ultimately brings me to this story.

I had waited till I was out of my medication, so I was forced to go to town to get my refill. I decided to go by myself as my husband Max has no tolerance for shopping and I thought maybe a little "retail therapy" would do me some good.

I decided to stop at the Goodwill store, as I love a bargain and had often found some really neat containers and what nots at thrift stores before. So I'm looking around at containers and beat up old flower arrangements when I spot some wreaths on the back wall. I do recycle a lot so I thought I would see if any of them could be redone to put in the store. (I have a floral department in the grocery store)

My eye is drawn to an evergreen wreath decorated for Christmas with miniature flour sack bags on it. I remember when that was all the rage in country design.

My mom used them a lot. So I pulled the wreath out to get a better look, and there it was. A simple brown paper tag with an owl on it that said "Carol's Creations".

At that moment I felt it. Hope and joy. My mom and God had spoken to me. That they were there with me. In that store, on that day and always.

I felt joy that whoever had it all these years cared enough about my mom to leave that little tag on it. Joy that the employees at the store didn't remove that little tag and joy that I had taken the time to find it.

For now, I have it hanging on the wall at the store as a reminder that God is helping me find my way and hope to keep going. A reminder that there is a better place after this life and my mom is waiting to greet me.

I will definitely bring the wreath home when I decorate for Christmas, something I haven't done for a couple years. It was always my mom's favorite holiday. First because of her unwavering faith in God and second because it was her birthday too. She was born on Christmas day 1941.

I continue my struggle with depression, but at least for awhile, I will see hope and find strength every time a I look at "the wreath my Mother set me."

-Rebecca-Christmas 2020