June 8, 2017 marked twelve years since my mom passed away. Twelve years of storing up so many things I would love to share with her. These days, as my life seems to be full of exciting news, milestones and accomplishments, I think constantly of all that I would love to talk to her about.
As my fiancé David and I decorated the house we bought together with pictures of family, I found this picture of my mom and I standing in front of her garden in East Hartford. Every year, my mom would dutifully plant new marigolds and dusty miller along the borders of her gardens. Throughout the summer, she would fill small vases with black eye susans and daisies in the house. To this day, the smell of marigolds, and the sight of these flowers makes me think of her and smile.
The spring before my mom passed away, I asked her what she wanted me to plant in her garden. She replied with wildflowers, and I sense this decision was symbolic of her understanding that she soon would be a free spirit, unburdened by the pain that had infiltrated her life for so long. Upon her request, I planted various wild flowers seedlings while she sat nearby watching and directing where to place each. Over the next few weeks, we watched the perfectly groomed garden manifest into a carefree garden of unpredictable colors and foliage. Together, we made peace with the idea that this would be the last garden she would have.
On the day of my mother’s funeral, I was standing looking at the garden, when a cardinal flew into the yard. A close friend of my mom explained to me that this was a sign that she was here, letting us know that she was with us and that she was ok. And so, I like to think of her that way, visiting her garden just one last time, soaking up the beauty and bidding her final farewell.
Photo: Mother and Daughter in the Garden Spring 2004
Photo Credit: David Ritter
*This was originally posted on my WordPress Page on 06/08/17. The content of the post has been revised to reflect the date of the anniversary.