Why I Wore My Yellow Dress

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  • By Raye Adkins.

    I wore my yellow dress in celebration of Mother’s Day. It was not my regular Mother’s Day. It was unlike the times I had cherished for the past forty-six years.  The day would be different.  My life was different. I felt different. Missing was my usual anticipation of the day’s events. My former sense of entitlement that accompanied my wondering what gift I would receive was no longer present.  Before it was my day for a well-earned respite. Now the thought of it caused me to sigh.

    It was a few days away.  I knew I would receive many greetings of “Happy Mother’s Day” and I needed to extend the same others.  But how, how could I do it?  The question would not leave and frankly I felt nothing but dread.  Just seven months ago, my only child, my dear son had his homegoing.  The voice I had always heard on this special day was forever silent.

    I prayed. I needed a way to feel the spirit and gratitude for this great day of celebration-a time for the recognition for the mothers of today and of those who have gone before us.  I asked God to remove the dread from my heart and the stream of tears from my eyes. I sensed the anxiety that family and friends felt for me.  All of it was simply overwhelming.

    A few days prior to Mother’s Day, I was in my closet for shoes.  As my yellow dress caught my eye, it appeared to do a two-step dance and say, “Me, take me.”  I frowned as a special memory gradually found its way into my heart. How could I have forgotten?  Grief can easily cloud the joys of memories.

    With surprising clarity, I remembered my last year’s Mother’s Day.  I recalled the Sunday morning that John walked into church carrying a handful of yellow roses. I was in the choir and could fully see the precious smiles he gave me during the service.  Afterwards, as I received my kiss, the roses and his utterance of “Happy Mother’s Day Momma”, I could barely contain the tears.  With his watchful eyes, he said, “Surely you are not going to cry.”  The tears quickly dried up as my heart melted for never before had he given me yellow roses.

    As I stood in my closet and claimed this special God-ordained gift, my decision was made.  This was the memory I would carry with me on Sunday and every Mother’s Day Sunday to come.  And, in honor of the great day and for my personal celebration, I would wear my yellow dress. I also decided to wear yellow for every Mother’s Day that God allows me to celebrate.  I vowed to give honor to the special times that God granted for forty-six years and the bouquet of yellow roses from John.

    My grief quietly slipped away as I phoned friends with similar circumstances and shared my plan.  I sensed that they too were in a struggle.  Each promised to join me by wearing yellow for Mother’s Day and to celebrate the life of their loved one rather than focusing on their loss.  I am thankful to God for the life of my son-a blessing worthy of a lifetime of celebrations.

    On Sunday I wore my yellow dress as a reminder of John’s wonderful love and God’s perfect grace on my life. On this and each Mother’s Day to come, the smile on my face and joy in my heart will be evidence of God’s great blessing. As I wore my yellow dress I could hear John’s voice, “There are no tears when you wear yellow.”

    For the Love of Mothers,

    O. Raye Adkins

    Photo Credit: Arvee

    Raye Adkins

    O. Raye Adkins spent more than three decades serving in public education. She concluded her career as an award-winning elementary school principal. She is the author ofLetters To My Father: The Gifts and other narrative works. She earned her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Texas A&M University, and holds a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction and a bachelor's degree in English and Speech. The University of Texas at San Antonio recognized Dr. Adkins as a Principal of the Year prior to her retirement.

    After leaving the school system she served several years as a national consultant for the AHA! Process of Houston, Texas. In that role she conducted workshops for educators from early childhood to college level and for organizations that serve children and parents living in poverty. She has also served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Texas at San Antonio and Weyland University in San Antonio.

    In 2009, Dr. Adkins published Letters To My Father: The Gifts, a book of letters to the father she never met. Dr. Adkins' father, Raphel Orval Beason, died four months before her birth of in a World War II naval explosion. In Letters To My Father: The Gifts, Dr. Adkins chronicles through letters to her father her journey from pain and grief to miraculous gifts and blessings.

    Her most recent work, "Why I Wore My Yellow Dress" was inspired by a gift of roses for Mother's Day from her only child John. John died in 2011, seven months prior her writing the narrative.

    Dr. Adkins' interests are traveling and reading. She is an active member of Bethel African Methodist Church, the Ivy Readers Book Club and she holds life memberships in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the NAACP. She resides in San Antonio with her husband Robert who is also a retired education.

    Additional writings can be found here. Visit letters2myfather.com and oramite.com for additional information.

    View all posts by Raye Adkins.

    27 replies
    1. Evelyn Palfrey
      Evelyn Palfrey says:

      What a wonderful tribute to your son. You are a special lady, to take such a painful loss and mold something beautiful and enduring of it. Thanks for sharing and for the lesson.

      Reply
      • Laverne Witherspoon
        Laverne Witherspoon says:

        Raye, what a wonderful story you share with all those that struggle with facing Mothers Day alone. Your smile is an encouragement to all that cross your path. I will remember Mothers Day to always have something yellow with me. Thanks for sharing your story with us and we know that John is still smiling down on you.

        Reply
      • Millie Klein
        Millie Klein says:

        Raye,
        A wonderful sharing of love. I have so many memories of John through our long ago conversations. God bless you.
        Millie

        Reply
    2. Edithe Cole
      Edithe Cole says:

      Raye, what a beautiful tribute to your beloved son, John. You are a gift and inspiration to us all. I also have a difficult time at Mother’s day, but I will, in the future, remember to wear yellow and celebrate the years we had with our loved ones. Thank you for a beautiful story.

      Reply
    3. J. Gilberto Quezada
      J. Gilberto Quezada says:

      Raye,
      What a beautiful and memorable tribute to celebrate and remember your son’s life on Mother’s Day, and every Mother’s Day from now on. Losing a loved one is not easy and especially your only son. The anticipation of Mother’s Day, without your son at your side, must have been very painful and utterly heartbreaking. Probably an event that you wanted to forget, considering that you are still in the mourning process. You are still in the healing stages, and not even a year has gone by. But because of your faith and trust in Almighty God you were guided by his divine hand to find the yellow dress. God works in mysterious ways. He wanted for you to find comfort and solace in your yellow dress, but most important, He wanted for you to celebrate Mother’s Day by remembering your son in a special way, and not only this year but every year of your life. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and inspiring experience. May God bless you always.
      Gilbert Quezada

      Reply
    4. Yvonne Holloway Cunningham
      Yvonne Holloway Cunningham says:

      Raye, Your strength truly is encouragement for me. I often reflect on our conversation regarding grief shortly after my brother’s sudden and tragic death. Your words helped me reach a turning point in my healing process.
      Thanks for allowing us to continue celebrating John’s life, along with you and your family through your sincere sharing.

      Reply
    5. LaJoyce Chatwell Lawton
      LaJoyce Chatwell Lawton says:

      Blessings Raye,
      Thank you so much for the lovely insights. Yours words encourage me to be more grateful for the challenges God places in my space. Each trial and tribulation is but a mechanism to draw me closer and closer to Him. Moving through is so hurtful. The hurdles are impossible to avoid and completely necessary to progress along our spiritual, thinking persons journey. Thanks for the remembrances. I’m so grateful that you have peace and that you have shared that peace with us.
      Continue doing God’s work!

      Reply
    6. deborah brodigan
      deborah brodigan says:

      Your courage and faith will continue to bring you through life’s ever continuing challenges and coping with great loss. Of course, picking out the yellow dress was the only choice; a celebration and remembrance of your great love for John. John will continue to be with you and you will continue to find the blessings. What a beautiful story.

      Reply
    7. Edwin De Leon
      Edwin De Leon says:

      My dear sister! Again you have managed to touch and inspire us with your profound spirit and resounding faith in our Lord. I’ve had the honor and blessing to call you my friend and have witnessed and felt your incredible strength. Which I know comes from our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. This literary piece has moved me just like “Letters to my Father” did as well. I know you miss John. But I also know they you find solace in knowing that he is in glory and free of any pain and suffering. God bless you my friend! And thank you again for sharing your testimony to help others. Love you!

      Reply
    8. Christal Alexander
      Christal Alexander says:

      Aunt Raye,
      This is beautiful! As I read through this, I teared up remembering all the great times with John. He touched us all and lives on through the impact he had in our lives. I love you! Thank you for sharing this.

      Reply
    9. Shirley Taylor
      Shirley Taylor says:

      My Dear Friend,
      What a profound, inspiring writing. Thank you for putting into words the heart of every Mother whose child has passed on. I felt your pain and experienced your joy; you showed what Christ meant when he said to walk through the valley. Your resounding strength and faith in the Lord is such a blessing to all of us. Thanks for choosing to go through. Stay encouraged.

      Reply
    10. Donna Muslin
      Donna Muslin says:

      Raye-Raye, You have been a blessing to my life and to so many others, as you do so much good in our beautiful world. You are so deserving of this gift of communication from Jon. Keeping smilin’ Girl. God Bless.

      Reply
    11. Irma Trottie-Dent
      Irma Trottie-Dent says:

      Ms. Raye, you’re an inspiration to all that are fortunate to have been BLESSED to have met you.

      God be with you.
      Love you much!!!

      Reply
    12. Tanisha Fuller-Felix
      Tanisha Fuller-Felix says:

      Raye,
      Wonderful! As I read the story tears were just rolling down my face. Mothers are blessed to experience the most deliciouse love, the love of a child. your writing is so captivating. Keep it coming!

      Reply
    13. Eloisa Rodriguez
      Eloisa Rodriguez says:

      Dr. Adkins,
      What a beautifully written article! :) I cannot wait to read your book! Wow!
      It was great to see you the other day. You are an inspiration to me!
      See you again soon! God Bless You.

      Love,
      Eloisa

      Reply
    14. La Trecee' Brown
      La Trecee' Brown says:

      Mama Raye,

      This was wonderful and inspirational. I am sure John loved reading Why you Wore your Yellow Dress. The heavens shined a little brighter the day God gently placed this in your spirit to write and share with His children. God bless you.

      Love,
      La Trecee’

      Reply
    15. Kerry Gladden
      Kerry Gladden says:

      Beautiful my friend, simply beautiful. I will always think of you now when I think of yellow…love you and miss you!

      K

      Reply
    16. Delores Atkins
      Delores Atkins says:

      Thanks for your moving account of your Mother’s Day experience after losing your son. You are an extraordinarily strong woman. I admire your courage and your desire to help others.

      Reply
    17. Kate
      Kate says:

      I like it – I think it would be awesome if everybody wore yellow on Mother’s Day!
      It seems to me that mothers have the most important role of all – merely because the baby is carried in their stomach and the first few months are primarily baby and mom!!!

      Reply
      • Raye Adkins
        Raye Adkins says:

        Kate,
        I agree and I pray that the wearing of yellow for Mother’s Day for will symbolize the joy and memories we carry in spite of the loss of our child–full terrn or not. We will be mother’s until the day God calls us home. While the deceased mother has the color of white , the living mother has red, the mother with the loss of a cihild would have her yellow. It is always wonderful to be part of the celebration and not sitting on the sidelilnes!
        Please pass it on!

        Thank You!

        Reply

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