September 9, 2013

Ralph's mom

Today JF and I were at the grocery store. He was wearing a Thomas the Tank Engine shirt and was playing with the cart as we waited in line at the deli counter. He turned the cart in a circle and then smiled up at me and the woman ahead of me.

"Is that Thomas on your shirt? Do you like Thomas?" the woman asked with a big smile on her face.

Her hair wasn't done and she wasn't wearing make-up but she looked kind and JF smiled back at her.

Since JF doesn't speak much I spoke instead. "Do you have a little boy?"

"Yes," she said with a smile.

And then quick as snap the expression on her face changed. The brightness went away and she said, "I did." Her whole face frowned and she said, "He died last year. He was twenty-five." Her eyes brimmed with tears.

I wasn't embarrassed but felt a deep urge to love her and her son in that moment. Good Lord, I hope that I did.

"I'm so sorry. What was his name?"

"Ralph. He loved Thomas and Pokemon and all that stuff." She wiped her eyes and apologized for crying.

"No, no. Don't apologize. You should share him with people. Let me give you a hug." And we hugged for a long moment, right in front of the cold cuts.

She touched her chest as tears rolled down her cheeks and said, "I treasure him," as if to say she treasured all the memories of her little boy in her heart. She kept those things, her little boy playing with trains and loving Pokemon and despite the tears she was happy to have those memories.

Even in that moment I felt so appreciative that she would share something so precious with me. But before I could say anything her crab salad was ready. She quickly brushed away her tears, grabbed her food, thanked the delicatessen, and pushed her cart away. I think she suddenly felt embarrassed and I wanted to tell her not to be. I wanted to tell her I'd pray for her son and her. I wanted to thank her for telling me about Ralph.

I didn't get the chance, but please honor Ralph and his mom with me. Please remember his soul in your prayers and please ask God to bless his mom, who loves and misses him so much.

Eternal rest grant unto Ralph, O Lord. 
May perpetual light shine upon him.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


  1. Oh, Bonnie, this post brought tears to my eyes.

  2. You got it. What a beautiful moment.

  3. Aw Bonnie, yes I will pray. What a touching story. Aw, what a huge reminder to love as much as i can each day and delight in these precious little people.

  4. My cup runneth over...beautiful.

  5. Thank you for what you did. We will pray for her and Ralph

  6. You got to do what Ralph, the lady's guardian angel, and Our Lady wanted to do, but couldn't- hug that mother and share part of her burden for a moment. Thank you for being willing to do that.
    I'll pray for Ralph and his family.

  7. Oh gosh, I am crying. Our youngest son is Ralph. I am going to go give him a huge hug!
    I will keep both of them in my prayers.

  8. Bonnie,
    I'm so glad you were able to reach out to that mother yesterday. Obviously, the shared moment touched you (and I imagine her) very much. This is a reminder to me that we can sometimes connect with people, even strangers, with just a few words and a willingness to reach out in Christian love. Good job, Bonnie.

  9. Beautiful story. The Lord out you in her midst, Bonnie.

    Thank you for sharing and yes, we will honor Ralph and his Mom.

  10. You must have been SO special to her in that moment. Way to be the Church in the world. Mary was using you (and your boy, and your arms) for certain! <3

  11. I was reading this when my 21 year old son came in and crabbed at me for having the phone in my room. I was annoyed with him. Then I finished reading your post. I am grateful for my son, whom I love, even when he is being kind of jerky. Thanks, Bonnie, for reminding me what is important!

  12. I have a knot in my throat after reading this. I'm so glad you hugged her, what a beautiful gesture. I'm sure she'll never forget that moment. And neither will I. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  13. I have been praying for Ralph and his family non-stop since I read this yesterday. 25 is too young to die.

    Don't know why--but i want to tell you something that has stuck in my head for years that this brings to mind. My grandmother died this spring, but she always used to pray for people she would randomly meet and she would say..."pray for that man, that was somebody's baby! That was somebody's son! Whenever i see suffering, I just think back to when they came into this world full of joy and hope and now they are grown or gone and need prayers. But that MOTHER! It was HER son! It was her baby one day.He was somebody's baby"

    And, so I thought of her with this post. Ralph, he was somebody's son! he was somebody's baby! Can't stop praying for Ralph.

  14. Beautiful post Bonnie. Mother and son will be in my prayers.