Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Daughter Dreams Of One More Day With Mother

Published May 11, 2006

There she is, in the photos on my dresser. In one shot, she is dressed in a fine suit, with a cluster of orchids on the lapel.

Next to her is a very chubby little girl, beaming proudly in a crispy white First Communion dress.

Yes, the little girl is me, and the lady in the suit is my beloved mom, who died 30 years ago.

As Mother’s Day approaches, there is a song that keeps coming to mind. It is called “One More Day” by Diamond Rio.

The song is about a man’s longing to have, just for a day, his sweetie back. He would turn off the TV and telephone, he says, and hold her in his arms.

What would I do, I wondered, if I had one more day with my mother?

She would be young again, wearing that same suit and a spray of orchids. And as she sat in the dining room, I would make her a splendid breakfast, with pancakes, eggs and bacon, and specially brewed Italian coffee.

We would linger over breakfast, and I would try to fill her in on some of the things that have happened.

I would tell her that I’ve been married, and happily, for almost 24 years. I think she would be delighted to know that he likes to cook and that he takes good care of me.

I would show her the books I’ve written and the newspaper clippings with my columns in them.

She was the kind of mom who used to preserve, in plastic, my published stories from the high school newspaper, and I can imagine how she would pore over the clippings.

Later in the day, we would go to Mass together. And when the priest says, “Offer each other a sign of Christ’s peace,” I would embrace her tightly and give her a huge kiss.

After Mass, I can imagine myself checking my watch in a panic. The hours would be slipping away, and there would be so much more to tell her.

But then she would comfort me.

She would tell me that she doesn’t need to see my wedding album because she was, in her own way, there that day.

Nor do I have to haul out photos of my sister’s grandchildren because she watches them constantly, and they are her great delight in heaven.

And then, of course, it would be time for her to tell me things she has saved up.

She might apologize about dying when I was so young.

“But, honey,” she would add, “I didn’t really leave you. I just went on to a place where I could still keep an eye on you.”

Now I would blush, realizing that my mom had been aware of all the crazy years, when I had been pursuing Prince Charming and had taken so many wrong turns.

And she’d also know that I stopped going to Mass for a long time.

She would notice my discomfort and give me a hug. “Honey, we don’t judge people in heaven. We just keep praying for them!”

It would be time for lunch now, and I can imagine her walking into the kitchen and putting on an apron.

I would relish the sight that I watched thousands of times when I was a child. My mother would get the garlic sizzling in the olive oil and add the plum tomatoes to the pan.

Later, she’d remove the pasta from the boiling water, place it in the colander, and go over to the sink to shake the water out. And we would both laugh about how my dad used to compliment her on her colander dance.

Over lunch, I would ask her more questions. Was she in heaven with her brothers and sister, and what about her parents? And was Daddy there?

“Those things, honey, are secrets,” she would reply.

“People in heaven completely accept God’s will for them, so even if some of our beloved aren’t there yet, we don’t suffer because of that. We thoroughly enjoy every moment.”

“What is heaven like?” I would blurt out.

She would glance out the window, where the dogwood trees are in full regalia, and the irises are showing off their painted faces.

She’d give a little nod at sparrows and cardinals taking turns in the birdbath and a majestic cloud moving through the sky like a ship at sea.

“It’s like that, only much better.”

“Time is running out,” I would say after lunch, “and we still haven’t done the most important thing.”

Of course, she would know what I meant. And she would sit on the couch and let me snuggle next to her, with my head against her chest, just like in the old days.

“Could you sing to me?” I would ask shyly.

And of course she would, the songs from childhood, like “Frère Jacques,” one of her favorites, and the songs she made up when I was a baby.

I would find myself holding her ever more tightly as the sun began to set, and the day was coming to a close.

“Oh, how I wish you could stay with me forever, Mommy,” I would say. “Is there any chance God might let you stay at least another day?”

She would smooth back the hair from my brow and kiss my forehead.

“I will always be with you. As close as a prayer.”

I would fall asleep in her arms, and when I woke up, she would be gone. And I would wonder if it all had been a dream or not.

But while saying my prayers that night, I would soon have my answer. Because on the dresser, by her photo, would be a single orchid.


Artwork by Jef Murray. Lorraine Murray’s books are available at She and her husband live in Decatur and work at Pitts Theology Library at Emory University. Her e-mail address is