There it is, lying there, in pieces on the ground (floor). And I’d just been thinking about my Mom’s death. The edge of the counter caught it as I lifted it, and down it went — in slow enough motion to give me time to hope desperately it wouldn’t break, but, well, you can see.

That dish cover wasn’t worth much money. It was just one of those items full of love memories —  the memento I chose when we sibs went through her things before the auction.

It just said “Mom.”

It was always there, a constant. Though our home was less than posh or over-fussy, after each post-meal clean-up Mom always made sure the dining table sat ready for the next gather-round: covered with tablecloth, each place set, centerpiece at center, and just to its right, the butter dish, neatly supplied with fresh butter and wearing that ever-present cover.

So, when it crashed, multiple memories hit the floor with it, and a few tears.

But Mom’s been gone for almost three decades! So what’s the big deal?

Well, I was going through my springtime funk.

A few years ago I figured it out: why this happens, amid the fresh promise of scintillating springtime, when daylight increases in bright blue skies, doors open outward, birdies sing, and gentle breezes caress…

I was reading, in Harriet Braiker’s Getting Up When You’re Feeling Down, about “anniversary phenomena,” emotional slumps triggered by dates of sad events, bringing on the blues, irritability, unsettled emotions, in the weeks around those dates — slumps we might not consciously connect with the past. What sat me up straight was examples she gave:

death of a loved one

date of a marriage break-up

date a job ended

things like that.

I started checking documents and journals…

That was it! Spring had been hiding multiple losses beneath her flowers and flowing fogs. Spring turned out to be my “time of many endings”:

my Mom’s passing,

my first marriage ending (that’s when that dreadful oversized divorce certificate was hand-delivered to my door!)

school years closing, my classes moving on, often to other schools, “Good-bye.”

homeschooling ended with graduation, 

nest emptied out.

And a couple other (huge) traumas I’m not even going to mention.

All in the spring! I’d never realized how many ending dates had ganged up together on the calendar within a few short weeks!  

In recent years, the spring-loss rhythm has continued. In spring we found it needful to leave our decade-long “church home,”  ending multiple church ministries, “friendships,” social network, even “sure-fire” book publication prospect. In spring they said I’d lose my eyesight…

So… no wonder my inner woman wants to slump! I have to admit to sometimes even dreading spring’s approach, wondering what looms ahead this year! 

But that’s life. Things break. Our world can shake. Loss comes, whatever the season. 

But the “negative” memories bring with them reminders of God’s great grace, His presence, His amazing intervention.

In fact, the times of loss brought the greatest spiritual blessings, whether or not I could discern them at the time.

Realizing my spring blues are only reasonable forearms and reassures me. Seeing how God’s used past springtime “losses” to prune, grow, and bless me helps allay my dread of more to come. And the whole business nudges me back to Him, to connect with His presence and draw on His strength and peace and overflowing love.

So right now a broken dish lid seems a very insignificant thing.


Do you get undefinable blues at certain seasons, that might have an “anniversary phenomenon” trigger, or find that certain dates or objects lead you to “revisit” grief?



(From 2 Corinthians 1:3-5,18-22)

  • 243 – Because He is the Father of Mercies
  • 244 – Because He is the God of all comfort
  • 245 – Because He comforts us in all our tribulation
  • 246 – Because He does this so that we can comfort those who are in any trouble, with the same comfort with which He has comforted us
  • 247 – Because as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.
  • 248 – Because all the promises of God are “Yes” and Amen in Christ
  • 249 – Because He establishes His own together in Christ
  • 250 – Because He has sealed us who are His own, and given His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.



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15 thoughts on “Sweet Dreams, Flying Machines, and Mom’s Butter Dish

  1. When I saw the picture I said, “oh, no”! I’m sorry about the broken memory 🙁 but I love what this whole experience has led you to discover. Praying some sweet spring memories for you, my friend.

  2. I would have cried, too. Next month we will be the first anniversary of our leaving the cult. I get the slump. I really do.

  3. Oh, triggers. They can be so painful. But it really is true – that His grace can be seen most clearly in what He does in us because of that hurt. Thank you for sharing this!

  4. Thank you, Laura, for fellow-feeling and sweet prayer. I’ll be on the lookout for sweet memories in the making — and maybe work on making some myself! God bless!

  5. Oh, Tereasa, I would think that slump a strong possibility! And I can identify. Reading your comment, I just teared up. Prayers for you. (Good boo-hoo sessions alternated with watching uproarious comedy were great therapy for me. Hubs and I watched a lot of Jeeves and Wooster right after our exit. A year later, we watched them all over again! Maybe that’s a funny thing to think of as a gift from God, but I did!)

  6. Amen, Mary. Not only that, but the bad times can magnify the sweet moments that occur. One moment of simple beauty stands out in my memory so strongly I don’t think I’ll ever forget it, and it was just Husband and I sitting on a rock wall, paused from work, gazing down our hill watching apple blossoms blow in the wind and swallows dip and dive and swoop to skim the ground amid the petal shower. It was just so soothing…

  7. In fact, the times of loss brought the greatest spiritual blessings, whether or not I could discern them at the time.

    Once we all get this, we can go through anything. I’m putting this gem in my pocket!


  8. It takes the going through those tough times TO get it, doesn’t it, Dawn? (At least that’s the case with me). And it’s easy to forget when the pain or fear grab our attention. So it is good to keep those reminders like gems in our pockets. l’ve often thought of carrying one Bible verse in mine as I go about my day. In fact, I think I’ll do that this morning!

  9. Hi I’m stopping by from OYHT… My mom just went home to be with the Lord 2 months ago. my days have been filled recently with sorting through her things, I can totally understand how special that dish cover was. blessings-

    1. Ah, Denise, my heart goes out to you. What a poignant time that can be, sorting through those things! May God give you much comfort in sweet memories, and thoughts of her being with Him in a beautiful eternity.

  10. Thank you for sharing your awesome story at “Tell me a Story.” I wish your butter dish could be fixed, but the pieces are too many to repair. Only our hearts can hold the memories of love and by gone days. My mother has only been gone a couple months, but I see her everywhere, and get the feeling that I should go visit her again yet she is gone. I don’t consider it depression, but perhaps it is. I use a napkin holder that was hers, a gift from a neice and tell her that she may have it back any time she desires. Most of Mom’s things have been passed on to her great grandchildren or sold at the yard sale just prior to the time she moved in with us. Then her memory got so bad we found it necessary to place her in assisted living. The staff loved her and she loved them. They were so good to her.

    1. Hi Hazel,
      I’m so glad you stopped round to comment. I hope the ReCaptcha didn’t give you too much trouble this time. I still haven’t figured out how to disable it here (this is
      I’m sorry you have also gone through this loss just recently. I guess I wouldn’t call it depression so much as just grief. Although I suppose they feel about the same. God bless you and comfort you.

  11. “So, when it crashed, multiple memories hit the floor with it, and a few tears.”

    This line evoked mental pictures for me, both metaphorical and real. Your way with words always makes me stop and ponder. I read your posts both for what you say and how you say it … because I admire the way you say things.

    I understand the anniversary phenomenon. My husband was 10 when his dad died and 24 when his mom died. Those “death dates” bring a season of “blues” every years. His parents birthdays, that we can’t celebrate because they’red not here, also bring out the blues. I’ve learned to flow with this annual rhythm. It’s been more than 25 years since his dad died, but every year, the loss is made just as real again. All over again.

    I feel like I’ve gotten to know you so much more through this one post. Thank you for sharing these deep parts of your life. May I pray for your eyesight?

    The part about leaving your decade-long church home really hit home with me too. Just 6 months ago, we left our church-home (of 8 years). We were so involved. To leave meant much sacrifice, but we knew it was the right thing for our family. We have a deep peace about it being the right thing for us, but it has still left a gaping hope in our lives. We’re attending a church just a block from our house, but we’re not ready to “get involved” again. At least not yet. We’re learning to be okay with spending a season “on the bench” rather than “in the game.”

    I apologize for the novella here. Your post generated so many thoughts in me. And that’s what great writing does. Thank you for being faithful to share your heart and your life through words. You are a blessing.

  12. Okay, I have to laugh at myself. I just glanced over the novella I just left, and I saw that I wrote “a gaping hope”when I meant to write “a gaping hole”!

    So perhaps there is hope for the gaping hole. 🙂

  13. Oh, wow, Denise! First, don’t apologize for the “novella.” You don’t know how great and timely a blessing it is for me! I got up gloomy, early this morning, and quickly directed my thinking away from the dwelling on the dismal that I might have done, to God and prayer, thanksgiving and praise, and seeking what He might have to say to me today in His word. That was a good choice — much gloom dispersed.
    Then I came to my email and found your comments, and felt like I’d won some special prize or something! My! Overwhelmed!

    Second, I didn’t even notice your “mistake” in your first comment for this post, and I think I’m usually an eagle-eyed proofreader (for others — from all those teaching years). I just automatically thought, “hole.” Now I see “hope” as a good “Freudian slip,” because you were subconsciously seeing the hope in the hole! Isn’t that what He does? He makes holes in our lives (or lets them be made) so he has a space to fill with His hope, with Him!

    It is really good that you and your husband can both recognize the “anniversary phenomena” for what they are. When the blues make sense, they’re easier to deal with, I think.

    I am quite struck also with the fact of your church-home exit only six months ago, and present “bench-sitting” after heavy involvement. Something else we have in common. Interesting how God had us just “run into each other”!

    Finally, thank you for such kind encouragement, and offer of prayer. I feel so unutterably grateful to God if He has seen fit to use my scribbles to encourage a sister or generate Him-ward thoughts. And may you pray for my eyesight?! Oh, my! By all means! I can feel the touch of it already!

    Really, I’m so glad your wrote your “novella,” as you can tell by mine! I love how it helps me know you better, too.

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