My mother loved the Jacaranda trees that bloomed on the streets near her house in May every year. Their purple flowers and dainty leaves arched over the sidewalks like clouds. “I think the streets of heaven are lined with jacaranda trees,” she said to me once. She died in May of 2003, as the jacaranda trees were blooming all over Southern California. I imagined that the trees I was seeing everywhere were the same as she was seeing in heaven. She taught me to love Jesus, to pray about everything as if your life depended on it and then to let God have it all. She taught me the discipline of tithing because it showed you understood that everything you had was a gift, and she taught me that nothing in this world could ever make you doubt God’s overwhelming love and forgiveness for you.
When All-Saints’ Day comes every year, I remember all the saints in my family. There were many of them. But I especially remember my mother, a convert from her family’s Jewish background to Christianity when she married my father. Her faith was solid, and she was grateful every day to have found it. I can hardly wait to catch up with her in heaven and tell her where I’ve been since she left, and maybe she’ll walk me under the jacaranda trees and tell me all her stories of what’ happened to her. May it be so.