When my husband and I moved into our new house after getting married (about 12 and a half years ago – how time flies!), my mom insisted on giving us transplants of flowers and greenery from her yard. I didn’t turn them down, although I have to admit I wasn’t always excited about her offers.
Almost every trip she and my dad made from Ohio in the warmer months of the year would include some kind of young plant that was dug up and thrown into an old pot, then transported in the back of their van all the way to Michigan. Part of me just wanted to drive down the street to our local garden center and pick out some nice perennials that had all the care instructions written on the tag, with a guarantee of blooming and thriving. I didn’t want straggly transplants that didn’t have instructions and had no guarantees of growing. Besides, weren’t we breaking some kind of environmental law by allowing plants to cross the state border? But it seemed like my mom’s love language to give us plants, so I usually took them with a half-hearted smile on my face. This is the first Spring since she passed away. And now that she’s gone, I can see her all around me. In the forsythia blooms in my backyard. In the peony shoots that are rising out of the ground. In the redbud blossoms that are reaching for the clouds with their bright pink & purple tones. In the ferns that are unfurling as they stand at attention in a shaded part of our backyard.
I see her love of beauty expressed in a poignant way this Spring that is unlike any other time that we’ve lived here. Reminders of the beauty of her humanity are reflected in these planted gifts that have outlasted her. It is a strange irony.
As I gaze at the visual banquet of colors, I am aware of a melancholy longing that fills my chest at the same time. There’s a mixture of joy and pain, of love and loss, of appreciation and sorrow.
That is the way of grief, isn’t it? A two-handed experience that only the Lord can breathe on and bring together in unity, providing a glimpse into the mystery of the death and resurrection of His son.
I ponder all of this.
I give thanks.
And I let the tears fall.
Tears that nourish the soil of a heart that keeps on beating with a love of beauty, inherited from a mother who now beholds True Beauty in the world beyond.