The Daffodils Reminded Me

The Daffodils Reminded Me

I was in a hurry that day at the supermarket. It was Primary day, and I still had to get home and clean up my children and dress them. I wanted to get an early start on dinner, too, for we were expecting dinner guests. So, glancing frequently at my watch, I quickly piled my shopping cart full of groceries and headed toward the cashier. Then I saw the daffodils.

They were lined in a cheery row by the window: potted daffodils, promising the hope of spring. Somehow, they made me think of Marie.

Marie was a young mother in our ward who had been bedfast for several months. Although she was still young, the disease that wracked her body was speedily taking its toll. Her vision was blurred; her limbs were becoming rigid; every movement of her body was fiercely painful. I knew she longed for a breath of fresh air, a taste of spring. Perhaps I could take just a bit of it into her hospital room with these daffodils.

I looked at my watch. 2:30 P.M. Primary was at four o’clock. There just was not time now. I would have to see Marie another day.

But the daffodils nodded their sunny heads appealingly toward me, seeming to sing out, “Today, while the sun shines” (Hymns, no. 215), and I made my purchase. “Marie has been moved since you were here last,” the nurse told me. There was no reproach in her tone, but I silently chided myself as I tried to remember when I’d last visited Marie. It had been nearly a month ago.

“Be prepared for a drastic change,” the nurse cautioned. “Her condition has deteriorated rapidly.”

Despite the nurse’s warning, I was alarmed when I saw Marie, lying pale and thin, so very thin, against her pillow. It took a moment for her eyes to focus on me and the daffodils I held. Then I saw the light of recognition in her eyes. Speech was difficult for her.

“Thank … you,” she said with an effort. “Daffodils. …”

I set the daffodils upon the stand beside her bed and took her hand. She tried to speak again, and I understood she wanted me to read to her.

I opened her Book of Mormon to the place where the bookmark was and read several verses. Marie closed her eyes, and after a moment she seemed to be sleeping. I finished the chapter and quietly closed the book. She was still holding one of my hands, and gently I began to withdraw it. Her grip tightened around my fingers, and her eyes opened.

“I have to go now, Marie,” I said. “I’m glad I got to see you today. I love you.”

“I have to go now, Marie,” I said. “I’m glad I got to see you today. I love you.”

“I … love … you … too,” she said, laboring over each word, but her eyes glowed with the message, and I felt tears spring into my own eyes. I squeezed her hand and said goodbye.

That afternoon my children were five minutes late getting to Primary, and the special dessert I’d planned for dinner was replaced with a commercial cake mix. But the next morning when the telephone rang, I was glad the daffodils had reminded me that “there is no tomorrow, but only today,” for Marie had died during the night.

[illustration] Illustrated by Don Seegmiller

Sister Brown is a homemaker and serves as editor of the Tempe Ninth Ward newspaper, Tempe Arizona Stake.