This past Monday I lost my grandmother.
This morning at my parents’ house I noticed a quilt that I don’t remember ever seeing among the dozens and dozens of masterpieces my grandmother created. This was one of a pair that belonged to my mother and my aunt when they were little girls. I was packing up my bag to leave and noticed the colors and thought I might know a girl who might like a quilt like this.
I was right.
When I’m ready I’ll share more of my grandmother with you. More than the little bits and pieces I’ve shared along the way. After several days of the busyness that surrounds this kind of goodbye, today I had five hours with just myself and my thoughts in the car as I wound my way back home a few hours behind the rest of my family. That was the hard time, the quiet time. I arrived halfway through my daughter’s end of school program and even though I missed her playing her violin, the tears streamed down my face while watching the others. It was good to hug friends and relax in the school garden and talk a bit, but the return to my house after so many days was just as hard as that solitary drive. I ask you for your thoughts and prayers for our hurting family in the days ahead.
Last Friday the little one wasn’t feeling so well and the few errands we ran weren’t successful. I felt stuck at home which is not a feeling I experience much on our Fridays together, and by the time we went to pick up her sister from school I knew where we needed to go. We went to the garden, walked through some tree houses and made our way past the empty tulip beds to the iris garden in its full glory. We stayed too long and found it five o’clock way too soon, so instead of wandering back along the shaded path as usual, we cut through the sunny rose garden. I rarely go into this garden – not because I don’t like roses, but really because it always seems so hot and sunny compared to the cooler paths among the trees. Perhaps you’ll remember my toddler plunking herself down on the path, refusing to leave, but you didn’t see me keeping my cool and ignoring her completely while I photographed the roses.
I did not know that in a few short days I would be selecting these same flowers – my grandmother’s favorites – for her service.
When we lose someone do we look for those parallels to see us through? Perhaps we do. I love that garden because I come from a family that loves gardens, and I see them there even though they are so far away. My grandparents had an enormous yard that I surveyed from my perch in one of their apple trees. The fence she shared with neighbor friends was lined with hundreds and hundreds of iris. When I called that neighbor a few days ago to tell him about her, he remembered me from three decades before as the little girl in braids up in the tree. While she was still able, my grandmother read this blog and enjoyed my garden tours. Even when she was no longer able to, I always wished she could still see those floral walks.
I will see my grandmother in each visit there, and I hope that I pass along that love of flowers, of gardens, to my girls. I am quite certain they will dream of them.