Health & Family

Carrying the book with Mom’s loving inscription

Michelle Scroggs-Higgins and her mother, Mary Carolyn Scroggs, who died May 2, 2013.
Michelle Scroggs-Higgins and her mother, Mary Carolyn Scroggs, who died May 2, 2013. --Courtesy of Michelle Scroggs-Higgins

The day my parents moved me into my dorm room at UNC Chapel Hill my freshman year (Aug. 17, 1991), my mom, Mary Carolyn Scroggs, gave me a book entitled “To My Daughter with Love.” And on the inside, she wrote this note:

“To Michelle,

My beautiful daughter and my friend. This is another new beginning for you, with exciting and sometimes difficult challenges, but always know how much you are loved and how rich you make lives of others.

I hope someday you have the joy of having a daughter, and will share this book with her. You are very special and I love you so very much. Love, Mom”

I’ve carried this book with me over the years, and read her note from time to time. Little did I know just how important it would become. She passed away May 2, 2013, exactly one month after being diagnosed with cancer. I read this note at her memorial service.

Thankfully that year, her Mother’s Day gift arrived early, on the day before she lost consciousness and passed away. My son, then 1-year-old, was able to give her a stepping stone that read, “Jack Loves Grammy.” The love she had for my son was like nothing I’ve ever seen and everything I wish to aspire as a mother myself.

This year’s Mother’s Day will be especially difficult. Twenty-one years ago on Mother’s Day, my parents proudly watched as I graduated from Chapel Hill. It was one of the happiest days of my life. This Mother’s Day, I will be in that same stadium, watching my stepson graduate and hoping my memories from 21 years ago are enough to get me through the day.

Michelle Scroggs-Higgins, 43, lives in Charlotte with her husband, Jim Higgins. His son, Chris, is 21, and their son, Jack, just turned 4. She is a senior vice president with Bank of America.