Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Key

It was the day before closing on the sale of my mom's apartment. She had lived there the last 37 years of her life. It was here she resided that final decade when the dementia overtook her mind and body. Here where my sister and I had spent so many afternoons and early evenings. Here where she took her last breath. 
And it was here that my sister came to say one last goodbye. She spoke to me that evening about that moment, how hard it was. 
I attended the closing the next day. It was uneventful and quick. The buyers were in the room when I arrived. We were introduced, exchanged greetings and got down to business. Documents were soon signed, checks provided and congratulations given. 
But before it was time to leave, the buyers said they had something to give me. I have been an attorney for 40 years and appeared at thousands of closing tables. Yet I cannot recall one time when a gift passed from buyer to  seller. 
Two small Tiffany boxes were handed to me, along with a note. One box was intended for my sister, the other, mine. Inside each were identical presents. 
I sat slightly stunned. I did not know these people, had never met them and most likely never would again after leaving this room. Neither my sister nor I had done anything extraordinary to warrant their generosity. If the roles had been reversed, it would never have  dawned on me to give more than a smile and a handshake to the one across the table. 
I opened the box. It contained a small key ring in the shape of a heart. It was simple, beautiful. I then read the note, tucked neatly in a tiny Tiffany blue bag: 
"We will honor your mother for all our days. (You'll always have a key)." 
What were these people made of that they would spend their time, effort and money to consider us and our difficulty in this moment? 
If I have a regret it is that I did not properly show my appreciation as we left that room. I gave a perfunctory thanks and hurried off to the next issue that was waiting for me back at my office. I was polite when the circumstance cried out for much more. 
The door to my mom's apartment, the place where we spent so much hard time together, did not fully shut when the keys were handed over to the buyer.  
And my sister and I received far more than money as fair exchange.



Anonymous said...

It happened because the beauty of you is that it is so obvious to everyone. Except you perhaps. I love you! I am so glad I read this at the start of my day!


Anonymous said...

we are not surprised. To anyone who knows you and Gail, anyone who just met you, know that you two were brought up to be "mensches" and it is our honor that we know you.
You have made your father, mother, and your children proud and we love you,

JB and DB

Anonymous said...

How extraordinary. A tribute to the grace you and your family show to others- returned in kind.
Thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...

It restores my faith in humans.


NL said...

Isn't it nice to know such lovely people will live in your mom's apartment? - NL

Anonymous said...

I love this story


Alex said...

I also love this story.

Anonymous said...

Really beautiful.

I don’t know how you find the time to write such amazing pieces in between everything else you are doing, but I’m happy you do.


Pam said...

Awww... just the greatest...xox..

Anonymous said...

So nice and so touching.


Anonymous said...

This made me cry like a baby. I love this so much. This story gives me hope in people. It really is so special.


Anonymous said...

That was so sweet.


Anonymous said...

Just beautiful....


Eileen said...

Heart warming and so touching.

Bob Labrie said...

My allergies must be acting up again. My eyes are watering...