Saturday, October 9, 2010
I was planting at the cemetary today. I took out the wilted impatiens, and turned the earth over until it was soft and loose. Around the perimeter, I hid tulip bulbs. Then I covered them, and in the centre I planted a pretty pinky/purple chrysanthemum, which I will probably dig out when the flowers die in winter. I haven't decided if I want to leave it there permanently, because I don't think it would be my Mom's first choice for the main plant. Next to the chyrsanthemum, I planted two small ornamental kale plants--beautiful with a purple centre. I watered well. Then I moved to the right, to my never-known sister's grave and interspersed crocus and iris corms around the perimeter. Then I made another circle within, and planted tulips. In the centre I planted the yellow chrysanthemum plant--bright as sunshine-- I had bought a few weeks earlier. In the spring the crocuses will emerge first, followed by the tulips. I don't know when the irises will come up, as I've never planted them before. I was born in April. This baby was born in April--two years before. I was born with brown hair, she with red. I never knew her. Her name was Andrea, and she lived to be nearly a year old. When I was young, and my brother was young, we would run around the cemetary in the heat, as my Mother planted flowers there, or pulled weeds, watered, and cared for the plants there. We always thought Mom was "grouchy" when we were at the cemetary. We always thought that this sister, who my brother knew briefly, was just a baby, and babies were hardly real people yet. This wasn't something we talked about. It wasn't until I had my own baby that I realised, suddenly and with so much weight, how horrible her loss must have been, how my parents, and especially my Mother, must have carried that sadness every day. So, I will take care of her grave now.
My sister joined me while I was planting at our never-seen-sister's grave. We talked about this and that, and Thanksgiving, and making pumpkin pies. I told her to never use shortening; it's a trans-fat, and it's just not good for anyone. She trimmed the dead chrysanthemums off the bush.
Then we returned to our cars. I put my shovel, my garden gloves and my other tools in the trunk, we admired the planting I'd done at Mom's grave, and then my sister left. I sat down in the grass next to Mom's spot. Just spending Thanksgiving weekend with my Mom, I joked to myself without smiling. This, of course, is the first Thanksgiving in years and years and years that my Mother won't be making a turkey. And to think I grumbled last year about having to eat two Thanksgiving dinners; one at my inlaws, and one with my own family. I listened to the wind through the leaves of the many trees. I listened to cars in the distance on the road. I waited, again, for a sign.
my beautiful children
my father, brother and sister
of course, my mother as well
a few close, good friends
this roof over my head
these clothes on my back
enough food to eat
clean water to drink
this strong body, altered though it may be
and the vast, quiet beauty of flowers...
for these things, I am thankful.
image reference: http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/files/Iris/Iris_reticulata_HarmonyCloseup-JAY.jpg