Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Mother’s Day 2020 from southern Minnesota May 8, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Me with my mom during a January visit. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo January 2020 by Randy Helbling.


I STOOD BEFORE THE CARD RACK at the dollar store, pink cotton print mask covering my face, eyes scanning the choices before me. I filtered through a few Mother’s Day cards before choosing one for my eldest daughter and one for my mom.

It was an emotional moment for me as I selected the card to send to my mom, who lives in a senior care center 120 miles away in southwestern Minnesota. I last saw her on March 7, the weekend before Parkview closed to visitors to protect them from COVID-19.

Mom is on hospice, which makes a difficult situation even more emotionally challenging. How do you work through the guilt of not being there for your mom when she most needs family? How? The intellectual part of me understands the closure. The “I love my mom” side does not.

So I stood there, in front of that display rack of flowery cards with sweet messages, and considered that this could be the last time I would buy a Mother’s Day card for Mom. I wanted to rip off that mask and plop down on the floor and cry away my pain in heart-wrenching sobs. Because that’s how I felt. Overcome with sadness.

But, instead, I clutched my two cards and walked to the check-out lane, strips of orange tape marking social distancing lines on the worn carpet. I waited while the cashier scanned the biggest pile of merchandise I’ve ever seen a shopper purchase at a dollar store. I tried to be patient and wait my turn while an unmasked young woman edged closer to me, closer than my comfort level. It didn’t help that I’d just heard someone coughing repeatedly minutes earlier.

I recognize my heightened awareness created by COVID-19. I recognize, too, my heightened emotions. I considered for a moment just leaving the cards and walking out of the store. But I wanted, needed, to get the card for Mom without another visit to another store and more possible virus exposure.

So I refocused, wondering about that heap of merchandise the masked woman ahead of me was buying. Teacher, I thought to myself, then asked, “You must be buying for a bunch of kids?” Her answer surprised me. She was not. The goods were rewards for potty training. I nearly laughed aloud. Not because of the concept. But because of the sheer volume of rewards purchased for a preschooler who might just be smart enough to manipulate Mom.

Humor got me through that check-out line and out the door with a card for my mom and another for my daughter. Memories will carry me through this Mother’s Day as I think of Mom. Still here on this earth, yet so far away.

To all of you who have lost your moms, I am sorry. To those of you who still have your moms, cherish them. And to those of you who are mothers, like me, Happy Mother’s Day!

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


24 Responses to “Mother’s Day 2020 from southern Minnesota”

  1. Sam Says:

    Mothers are precious. Lovely post and I hope you and the family are well in this difficult time.

  2. Our posts today are similar in thought for sure. We are all just wanting to be with our moms this weekend. Keeping you and your sweet mom in my thoughts and my prayers.

  3. Happy Mother’s Day Everyone!!!

  4. BERNADETTE Thomasy Says:

    My thoughts go out to you as you miss being with your mother. I can identify with getting emotional in the card aisle. I remember the first time I could not buy a Christmas card that said “to Mom and Dad”. I was wiping tears and hoping no one saw me. I still get misty at the Mother’s Day cards I don’t purchase now that Mom is gone. You were blessed with humor that got you through. The Lord provides.

    • He does provide. I truly believe that as I’ve experienced His goodness so many times in difficult situations and more.

      I am so sorry your mom is gone. It’s hard, especially on Mother’s Day, I’m sure.

      My mom has gone through many major health crisis in her life when she should not have survived. We’ve been called to her “deathbed” several times, so I fully recognize the blessing of still having her with us. The last time we nearly lost her, Mom said, “God wasn’t ready yet for this stubborn old lady.” Made me laugh. Just like that mom in line at the dollar store. The Lord provides.

  5. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    I love this story! Happy Mother’s Day to you, Audrey.

  6. Laurine R Jannusch Says:

    That is such a wonderful picture of you and your mother–I’m sure you will cherish it for years to come. Even though the present situation doesn’t allow person-to-person contact, memories suchas this live on forever.
    The picture reminded me of the first time I met your mother. Right after we moved to Vesta as newly-weds, your dad brought her to the parsonage when he had to attend a church council meeting. She was about to give birth to your brother Bradley, and he did not want to leave her at home (in case she went into labor). L. Jannusch

  7. valeriebollinger Says:

    Wonderful photo of you and your mom! Happy Mother’s Day.

  8. ❤ A belated Happy Mother's Day, Audrey. ❤ ❤

  9. I’m so sorry you aren’t able to visit your mom Audrey, It’s so hard to understand, especially for those who are near the end of life here on earth. I pray you are able to see your mom soon. The photo of you and your mom is beautiful. I really hope this one goes in a frame. Happy Mother’s Day Audrey. We feel your pain, unable to see Ricks mom. Rick’s dad is at the end stage of Liver cancer and we are so hoping they will make an exception so they can see each other one more time on this side of heaven.

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