Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Faded Brown Leather Change Purse

February 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace. “

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

When my mother died I had the daunting task of going through her belongings. She wasn’t
rich, so she didn’t have much. I just wanted to pack everything up and send the box to Goodwill.

My mother and I didn’t see eye to eye. She was an alcoholic and I gave up on her. I didn’t
think her life was worth much in life or in death. I was angry with her after all the years I spent
taking care of her. It was suppose to be the other way around, but never was.

Right before I turned sixteen my father died and my mother in her “alcoholic wisdom”
decided to uproot us and move three thousand miles away from my father’s family. I was angry
with her and decided to run away from home. I didn’t get the chance and we made peace, but
not for long.

Throughout my adulthood my mother drank. She wasn’t a funny drunk, but a mean drunk and
I suffered horribly from her anger. I stopped speaking to her and even made her leave my home.
I had my family to think about. I regretted my decision two years later.
I prayed daily my mother and I would reconcile.

I got the phone call about two years after I ejected my mother out of my life. She was dying.
Since I was her only child my aunt called me. When I got to the hospital, mother was in a coma.
I didn’t get to tell her I was sorry for the things I had done. My mother died not knowing too I
forgave her as well.

I packed her clothes neatly in the box for the thrift store and put her pictures in the box to
bring home. I spotted the faded brown leather clutch purse at the bottom of a junk pile. Fond
memories of my mother flooded my mind; memories before her drinking bouts.

She used to keep the purse inside her dress next to her heart. I always wondered why she did
that. I thought it was because she didn’t want anyone to take her money, but I found out that day
she kept it next to her heart for only one reason. Inside the faded brown leather clutch purse was
a few old coins and a picture of me. Tears fell as I turned the picture over and saw the date. I was
three years old in that picture. My mother did love me! She carried me next to her heart for
thirty-three years until her death. God did answer my prayers, but not in my timing, but His.

I am thankful for the warm memories I have of my mother… some not so great, but we shared
a lifetime of love and sorrow that made us who we became. I love you mom!

Debra Elliot is a Christian wife, mother, grandmother and author. Life Through the Rearview Mirror is her first poetry book published. Debra Elliot writes an online column for She is also contributing author in Heavenly Humor for the Cat Lover’s Soul.

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