After fourteen hours on the road, across two and a half provinces I arrived at the memorial garden dedicated to my son and daughter, in what has become my annual trek to plant the garden. It did not help that dark rain clouds hovered, and cold north winds blew, or that the harsh winter had killed off perennials of a half dozen years. Quack-grass had spread like apathy and despair, it crept in to take over where a lush garden thrived. As I stood shivering all I could feel was the extreme loss that had brought this garden into being. I felt like the lone still-grieving mother doing battle against the universe. In my tiredness, I saw the garden as unkempt, impossible to clean and full of weeds. And the beauty was hidden from my eyes.
I paused, and breathed a prayer. Surely the quack-grass should not dominate!
After the next morning’s rain and a good night’s sleep, I returned in the sunshine to discover, there was still much beauty here, the fountain was flowing, as was the offer from camp staff to help dig … spirits lifted.
Today the garden lesson for me was in persistence for beauty, that joys fought for are worth the battle, that passion for beauty nourishes the soul.
People have come alongside. Unearthing beauty and joy is my challenge and delight in the garden and in my day … so let me laugh in this moment, let me keep the weeds at bay … and let me use Round Up wherever I need to.
In preparation for this year’s garden trip, weather worn signs needed replacing and rewording.
What can you say as an epitaph for two vibrant young people?
In my search for words I came across this poem, and knew it was the one.
I Will Not Die an Unlived Life
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
To allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
Photos are from previous years at the garden, evidence that beauty is present, and needs to be fertilized.