One of my favorite things to do is to buy family and friends gifts. I place great emphasis to get the giftee the perfect gift — and it’s of my opinion that said gift must be something they would enjoy, not something they need.

I think that over the years, I’ve nailed that. As a matter of fact I also love to send personalized birthday greetings on Facebook to my friends and family.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I didn’t have Millie with us to gift her, but I got Denise a couple of enjoyable surprises.

We were talking about past gifts and such and she reminded me of a time in our lives that brought us to one of our lowest lows.

As most of you know, we lost our son David Joseph in 1996 at three days old. Despite his short time on this earth, the little guy (now 24!) left an indelible mark on our hearts and souls.

Shortly after DJoe was born, it became clear that he had hurdles to overcome. With that knowledge out there, the staff at Charlton Memorial Hospital took some photos of the little guy because frankly, we didn’t think to do so. We never thought he would be gone so quickly. We were so grateful they did.

He went from Charlton to Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, R.I., to Children’s Hospital in Boston all in that short three-day span.

When he couldn’t hang on any longer and passed to Heaven, the wonderful people at Children’s Hospital gave us a lovely satin box containing mementos of DJoe’s brief life; his birth certificate, the tiny bracelet he wore, a lock of his hair, and photos.

It is a cherished collection. But I couldn’t find the courage to open the gift for the longest time.

Six months after he died, Mother’s Day was approaching, and I knew it would be a difficult one for Denise, so the gift had to be exceedingly meaningful.

On DJoe’s memorial card and etched on his tombstone is one of our favorite scenes, ”The Madonna of the Streets.”

I bought a locket with bearing the image. I knew what had to go inside.

With great sadness, I opened the box and removed one of the photos. It hurt so badly. But, I scanned the photo of his angelic face with the little toque (French Canadian for knitted cap)and reduced it, laminated it and placed it inside the locket.

I didn’t know how Denise would react and I felt that maybe I overdid this one.

Come Mother’s Day I gave her the wrapped treasure. She gasped when she opened it. I didn’t know what that meant. She had tears in her eyes and told me that was an answer to a prayer of hers. She told me that since the little guy died, she kept asking God for a sign that he was OK. Denise knew then and there, that was the sign for which she was praying. It was perfect.

I will never be able to get a better gift for anyone ever. Nor do I want to. The fact we still talk about it a quarter of a century later is proof.

The sting has worn off, but not the hurt and missing him. But we had a painting made of that photo and it hangs prominently in our living room.

I love getting people gifts that are funny and fun. But sometimes a Higher Authority leads me in another direction. That, in and of itself, can be an awesome gift.