Buttons of Love

This is a love story of sorts. One I’ve been longing to share with you, but hesitating, as it still hurts my heart. I pray it reaches into your souls, as it has ours.

About four months ago, my friend Michelle called my husband at work. He manages a large craft and hobby chain store. Do you have buttons…she asked? What kind of buttons, Michelle? Big bags of buttons. Yes, just come on by and I’ll fix you up.

Later that evening, I received a call from hubby. His voice was not normal…and I could tell he was shaken. Do you know where your antique buttons are, he asked? Ummmm …. I can find them.  How many do you need?  Just a few, he replied. Tell me what’s going on.  Here is a paraphrase of what he shared:

Michelle and her oldest daughter are in my store. She wanted to look at the buttons, so I took her to the craft buttons. She and K were looking at them and I asked~  What kind of project are you working on?      Silence.      It’s kind of morbid, Michelle laughed. She went on to share that her cancer was now stage four. And while she was not giving up the fight, she was preparing for her funeral, just in case the worst happened. She wants to be sure that each person that comes to her service leaves with something from her. Something that they can feel and be reminded of how she touched their lives.  When she tells me this, I start bawling and the three of us are huddled and consoling each other. Right smack in the middle of the button aisle. So I asked Michelle~ Would you like some antique buttons, too? She loves that idea, to have some extra special buttons to share with her daughters and close friends, so she’s coming by to see you when they leave here.

buttons2

I hang up the phone and with little time to compose myself, I gather the buttons and have them waiting on the kitchen counter for Michelle and K’s arrival. I have TONS of buttons. When I was a little girl, buttons were my entertainment when I was supposed to be taking a nap.  My button collection has grown quite a bit over the years. I pulled out a handful that I wanted to keep for my kiddos, and sent the rest with Michelle. Before she left, she went through each of my buttons that I had set aside.  She slowly touched each one of  them before placing them back in the old fruit jar and sealing it. As I walked with her down the sidewalk that night, she reminded me that she was going to keep fighting the cancer. I reminded her that I wanted every single button back.

She took those buttons home, plopped down, and spent a long time going through them. She touched them. She kissed them. She thought about each person that might be holding one some day.  She was determined to put herself in each button. She laughed later when she told me how much time she’d spent doing that, and how her hubby couldn’t believe she was taking so long. Michelle was following her heart…..buttons

On December 22, we received the dreaded call. We rushed down the sidewalk to their home, and spent the next few hours praying, crying, and sharing Michelle stories while bent over her bed. To hold the hand of a loved one in life and in death changes you.  I believe that somehow you are bound forever.

On the day of Michelle’s memorial service, there, on the center front table, was her big old bowl of buttons.  As each person left her service that evening, they chose a button to take home with them.  These were Michelle’s buttons of love. Of remembrance.  Buttons to remind us to be nice to others, to stand up for ourselves and others, to rescue animals, to love our neighbors, to take time to know God, to live life to its fullest, raise our children right,  and to feed the fish every day.  Smile.  These were her buttons of love and of life.

I can’t think of a better love story than this.

If you ever come to my house…..I’ll have a button for you.  Sitting in a big old bowl on the table, by the front door.  Sharing Michelle’s love and ours…..just like she would have wanted.

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73 Responses to Buttons of Love

  1. Wow! This is a truly powerful post that moved me to tears. She must have been such a wonderful person to be thinking of everyone else at a time like that. She is the type of friend you will never forget!!

  2. renae says:

    Beautiful!

  3. Wow!!!! This is beautiful… Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with us and Happy Valentine Day to you

  4. bulldog says:

    This is just too good a post… I’ve emailed the link to two people we know with terminal cancer, I’m sure this will cheer them up and give them something to think about…

  5. Tracy says:

    What a beautiful story, thank you for sharing. And what a lovely idea for people to remember you by.

  6. Lynn says:

    Reblogged this on Life After 50 and commented:
    This is a beautifully written post from a fellow blogger in honour of a dear friend. What a wonderful, simplistic gift to have left those she loved.

  7. andy1076 says:

    I love it! what a sweet and cute story, she will forever be remembered in everyone’s fondest memories :)

  8. M. Zane McClellan says:

    At a loss for words, but thank you (heavy sigh).

  9. sharechair says:

    What a beautiful, loving story.

  10. Rhonda says:

    One of the most beautiful stories of love and friendship I’ve ever read. She sounds a very special woman Paula…you are blessed to have loved her. As I tearfully think of what those buttons meant to her and now mean to you, I can only wish that one day my friend, there will be a very special button amongst my most precious things. Love this and love you for sharing it. xoxo

  11. I am so deeply touched by this story and by your extreme kindness Paula! You are such a sweet soul, both you and Marvin! I am sorry your friend passed, but what a legacy of love and kindness. Thank you for sharing. I just wished that I had read this before I put my makeup on.
    Thank you again for sharing this beautiful story!

  12. I love my button….and you <3

  13. joannesisco says:

    This story moved me to tears. How beautiful, how sad … such a touching tribute. I don’t think I will look at my button collection quite the same way again. Thank you for sharing.

  14. sueslaght says:

    Such a powerful and heart wrenching story. Thank you.

  15. What a gift God has given you. Your story of friendship/love with MIchelle was meant to be shared and He has made sure that you are able to do so. I am so sorry for the pain that envelopes you right now and know from experience that it takes a long time to go away. I too lost a dear friend to cancer and it just sucks! (Not so blessed with the gift – lol)! Love you friend and hope you have a lifetime full of button remembrances!

    • Thank you Christi, for your sweet words. I am sorry for your loss as well. Michelle’s button story was difficult to share….but shows how much she was always thinking of others. Miss her so much♥ hugs ♥

  16. She was amazing, the best friend and “second mother” anyone could have ever asked for. Happy Valentine’s day Michelle.

  17. JoEll East says:

    This is an amazing story of my best friend. It brought tears to my eyes. You are an amazing writer Lady. Thank you for sharing this. She was an amazing woman who was loved and cherished by many.

  18. shreejacob says:

    Oh..what a beautiful story :) Thank you for sharing this…and I’m going to do the same….share it with others. A little of Michelle…out into the world through your button story! :)

  19. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    SAD STORY…BUT WORTH EVERY SYLLABLE…ESPECIALLY TODAY!

  20. Maggie says:

    Thanks so much for posting this. Michelle was an amazing woman, mother, wife, friend and “other mama”. I have my button too, I wear mine on a large lobster claw clasp so I can clip it to everything. I miss her so much. Happy V Day Michelle. We love you.

  21. Jeannette from the CA coast says:

    Who would have known you could put so much love in a button! I don’t think I’ll ever view buttons again without thinking of this sweet story of love & friendship.

  22. zannyro says:

    I know what you mean about being changed forever…I was with my brother as his breathing began to slow, with me hand on his arm…he rebounded, but left us just a day later. I felt honored to be with him in our early lives and at the end of his life. Such a wonderful post.

  23. I cried :( that is a beautiful story..

  24. Ginifer says:

    My button goes with me everywhere. I love this story. Brought tears to my eyes & I can see her sitting there kissing everyone’s buttons, one at a time. She is sorely missed.

  25. J.babb says:

    I love her everyday from now to the end of this world😥she has my heart in her hand up in heaven. She blesses me everyday and guides me to be a better person .. I love you , your girls, and your hubby xoxo I will be forever entertwined

  26. Paula, this is such a heartbreaking yet beautiful post. You’ve moved me to tears. Your friend was remarkable. And you and Marvin were good friends. I love you, dear friend.

  27. Such a cute story! Suddenly, I feel all mushy inside! Hope you had an amazing Valentine’s day! :D

  28. sue marquis bishop says:

    A touching story with life lessons for us all. My mother’s button box was an imaginative place with treasures to be touched, counted, matched and arranged on a rainy day. I have her buttons, as well as the buttons from my grandmother. They are treasure for my sister Nancy and myself. Thank you for sharing this lovely story… sue
    womenlivinglifeafter50.com

  29. It’s a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it. :)

  30. viveka says:

    This is a very powerful story … and beautiful. You through me with this story … I remember as a child how I loved buttons too – I loved looking through my grandma’s box where she had all her spare buttons.
    In Gothenburg is there a shop that only sell buttons, thousands of them, and ribbons. It’s like coming into a candy store.
    How wonderful you described your love and her love ….

  31. russtowne says:

    What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it!

    I’m compiling an anthology of non-fiction stories that are heart-warming, full of love and kindness, and inspiring. To me, this post falls into that category. If you’d like to have this or other stories you’ve written be considered for inclusion into the anthology, please contact me at russtowne.com for details.

    Thank you.

    Russ

  32. Pingback: What She Left Behind… | stuff i tell my sister

  33. September Platts says:

    <3 So glad you were there~soooo glad you shared. Thank SO much <3

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