Friday, November 30, 2012

The Painting

I know there's a lot going on, and I will speak on much of that later. This is a very personal post.

When I was a child, my family belonged to Grace Lutheran Church in Bensenville, IL.  My mother was VERY involved in the church.  If there was a committee, it seemed she was on it.  Sunday school?  Of COURSE she was a teacher.  It was an integral part of her life.  In fact, when my brother, sister and I all had chicken pox at the same time, I remember the pastor coming over.  Whether that was to talk to her about church business or keep her from killing us, I'll never know.  ;)

When Mom drowned in 1976, it truly sent shock waves throughout the community.  Since she was not only involved in church, but also in girl scouts, boy scouts, the PTA, etc., MANY people knew her.  I vaguely remember there being lines outside of the funeral home.  So many came to pay their respects.

I have a dim memory of someone in the church painting a portrait of Mom not too long after that.  It's a very hazy memory.  I once asked some family members about it, and they didn't seem to know what I was talking about.  I chalked it up to the false memory of an 11 year old child.  We moved shortly after that and joined a different church.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago.  A bunch of friends who I've reconnected with from my childhood got together to watch football and to celebrate a birthday.  In an attempt to make a long story short, the birthday girl's sister-in-law just happens to be the daughter of the pastor from my childhood.  In talking with her it turns out that not only does the painting exist, it's still hanging in the church.  It also turns out that it's not just my mom in the painting, it's also my brother, my sister (who is also no longer with us) and me.  While the painting belongs to the church, I was able to go down to the church to take some pictures.  To say that was emotional is an understatement.  The painting, in my opinion doesn't quite depict the beauty of my mom, but that's not the point.  That it was "discovered" after several decades - PRICELESS.

My friends - I cannot even begin to express how much this means to me.  A shout out to Vanessa for not only the connection, but for being right beside me when I saw the Bible verse and broke down.


  1. That's cool. Glad you got to at least visit it.
    (big hug)

  2. Ohhhhh Chris, this is incrediable & very BEAUTIFUL! I love the painting! Love you too! Sunshine

  3. Thanks to both of you. It was quite surreal...

  4. What a beautiful story, and what a touching moment in time for you... It's a heartbreaking story, so tragic but this warms my heart and I hope this protrait brings you much joy and connection to your incredible mother.

  5. What a incredible story... I am so sorry you and your entire family suffered through such a tragic loss, it just breaks my heart. No child should have to go through that. This seems to have come full circle now and warms my heart. What a message from her and on Mother's Day Eve weekend. I think she is winking at you ad letting you know loud and clear how much she loves you and how proud she is of the wonderful mother you turned out to be. Enjoy and feel all it's love ~