As you know, Ryan, you never met your Grandpa Lenard, your Dad’s dad. He died and was called home to God before you were born, when your own Dad was still a boy. We miss him and we wish you could have known him. We feel he sent you a special message from Heaven on the day of your First Holy Communion.
Early on the morning of May 6, 2006, the day of your First Holy Communion and your eighth birthday, there was a knock at the front door. It was our next-door neighbor, Alice Mason. Mrs. Mason has lived next door to our house since your grandparents bought the house (which is now ours) in the early 1960s. Mrs. Mason and her husband were friends of Grammy and Grandpa Lenard when they lived in this house. When I answered the door, Mrs. Mason handed me a beautiful bouquet of lovely white roses.
“These are for Ryan’s First Communion,” Mrs. Mason said. I thanked her, and she told me a most amazing story:
“One day about 30 years ago, your father-in-law, Lenard Lowenstein, was in his yard gardening when I walked by. He had torn out a beautiful white rose bush in full bloom. I asked him why he was tearing out the plant, and he said something about hating the thorns that come with every rose. He had also worked for your grandparents’ nursery for so long, he disliked flowers that required a lot of spray and upkeep, as roses do.
I told him, ‘You can’t throw away that beautiful rose bush. Look at how gorgeous it is!’
‘Alice,’ he said, ‘if you want it, take it for your own yard.’
So, I took that beautiful white rose bush home, planted it in my backyard, and have nurtured it these past 30 years. Every spring it blooms the most beautiful flowers, but they are especially bountiful this spring. I thought you would like to have this bouquet for Ryan’s First Communion.”
Ryan, we were stunned! Grandpa Lenard has been gone for almost 26 years, and we have very little left of his actual belongings. To receive this gorgeous bunch of blooms was such a wonderful gift. They are the color of First Communion – white — and they arrived on a day we desperately wished your Grandpa Lenard could have been here to see. Though we’ve been neighbors for the past 11 years, we had no idea Mrs. Mason had taken care of Grandpa’s rose bush for the past couple of decades. We believe it was Grandpa Lenard’s way of letting us know he is so proud of you on your First Communion Day.
As you know, the bouquet was used as a centerpiece on the table at your First Communion and birthday party. I have dried and saved the bouquet, which is in your keepsake box at home. Dad and I hope it reminds you of your Grandpa Lenard. We also hope it teaches you to always believe in miracles, to nurture a legacy as Mrs. Mason has, and to know that God and your family love you — no matter where we are.
Mom and Dad