Tag Archives: anonymous care package

The End of the Anonymous Care Package

Robin Botie's friend's daughter packs her stuff into a plastic shipping envelope in Ithaca, New York.We’re not at our sharpest in the throes of grief. Even 3 years into healing from the loss of my daughter, I have to be wary of my emotional responses to situations. Like recently when an anonymous package was mailed to me containing a 2-piece bathing suit, an expensive cellphone, 2 hundred-dollar bills, a postcard addressed “Lover” and assorted items related to staying healthy (see previous post). 2 days after I published the article about receiving this “care package,”

* after inspecting and inventorying the contents with the State Police
* after visits to Verizon to recycle or switch over to the new phone
* after spending $20 at the Computer Room to try to reset the phone
* after posting thank yous to my unknown benefactor on Facebook and Twitter
* after giving away half the money and using half the remainder to make a care package for a friend who just lost her husband
* after several sleepless nights wondering if some crazed guy from West Virginia who’d found my address was going to show up at my house
* and after 10 days on a wild ride trying to figure out who sent the package and why, and how I should be feeling about this gift –

I got an email from my friend’s daughter:

Robin, it’s my package!! It’s all my stuff!!!
I’m so sorry! It is extra things that I didn’t want to continue carrying and Mom suggested I mail it to you so we could pick it up … I thought she would have told you. I’m so sorry I didn’t include a letter – it was a last minute scramble to pack and get to the airport.
I feel so silly and sad. I hope this doesn’t disappoint you, but clarifies a huge mystery. I couldn’t believe as I read your blog post…. Wow.

Suddenly my emotions were exploding in every direction once more:

* This meant I did not get a Valentine’s Day care package after all.
* There was no more kind but kinky secret admirer.
* The prayer for happiness was not for me.
* Good thing I didn’t trade in the cellphone or throw out the sim card.
* I have to replace the money I spent.
* How will I tell my readers? It’s so embarrassing.
* Why the heck didn’t she put her name somewhere in the damn package so I could have been spared all this?

But mostly I’m laughing because this was something my own daughter would have done. And the whole thing was pretty silly.


Gift for the Grieving

lovelightpower “I didn’t order anything,” I say to the lady at the Post Office as I sign for a bulging package. “No name or return address on this. Isn’t that strange?”

“I’m curious too now,” she says and offers me a scissor. Opening the plastic envelope, I halfway pull out a belt and two articles of clothing. I hastily sift through the contents for a card. There is none. So I ask her to trace the package. But searching the number on the tracking slip yields nothing more than the name of a small postal unit in West Virginia. “Maybe you have a secret admirer,” she says, as I wonder how to thank the sender.

When I get home I empty the envelope onto the kitchen counter. The two articles of clothing turn out to be a two-piece bathing suit. I’m squirming because it looks like my size. I rifle through maps of shrines to hike to in Japan, a blank journal, an opened bag of cough drops, a Thai recipe book, … When I unwrap an expensive I-5 cellphone and two hundred-dollar bills, I throw everything back into the envelope, put the whole thing outside in case it’s a bomb, and call the State Police.

Four hours later, standing over my counter between the immaculately polished state trooper and my tattooed son in his undershirt, we’re discussing remote detonation devices, secret surveillance cameras, stolen cellphones rigged with porn videos or obscene messages, and anthrax scares. Is the half-used sheet of decongestant pills and container of candy-laxatives really illegal drugs? I’ve landed in the middle of a strange movie involving high tech identity theft and gangland mystery.

“This is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen,” the trooper says. He inventories each of the twenty items as I suffer hot flashes and chills. From the back of the phone he un-tapes a postcard with a message that begins, “Lover.” I recall the recent shout-out on Twitter from my son’s friend, Jon Bones Jones, advising his followers to check out my website; within seconds a tweet had come back calling me “a hottie.” Then and now, I cling to my cover:

“I’m just a heartbroken grieving mother, my kid died, I’m a mess, I’m almost 63, no one should want me.”

“Did you mention you were sick recently?” the trooper asks. “There’s aspirin and cold remedies, Kleenex, vitamin supplements and a prayer from a temple. There seems to be some cultural thing we don’t understand here. Someone cares about your health.”

Or my sender also knows loss. I take another look at this anonymous care package. At the phone that turns out is not stolen but is locked, unusable, into a TMobile account. At the warm red design on the handmade coaster. I’m still wondering what to make of this gift. But I pass the maps and half the money on to my friend’s son, an exchange student in Japan who needs cash. I start a care package for a friend who just lost her husband.

And I tape the paper with the  prayer for happiness to my wall.