My daughter, Mary, started a garden with her Pappy while he and Grammy were visiting us at Easter. We traveled around gathering all of the necessary supplies- plants at one farm, seeds at a garden store, potting soil at another store. The fence was put up.
After making a planting plan, Mary and Pappy began planting. The garden was lovingly tended. Rebecca and Natalie bought decorations for Mary to add to her garden. Lots of time and care was bestowed upon this garden.
Little seedlings began to emerge, filled with the hope of a bountiful harvest of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, and watermelons. The herbs, bee balm (chosen to encourage the bees and butterflies), lavender, mint, and rosemary were to be used in teas, cooking, and to make homemade creations. Marigolds and cosmos were planted in abundance. They were to fill the garden and our home with color and a sweet scent.
Mary’s garden was a beautiful sight to behold. She lovingly weeded and watered the tiny plants each morning. It was a calm, peaceful place, much like our home.
The garden was even the site of Natalie and Mary’s last meal together. They drove to the store to buy croutons- for what is a salad without croutons? – and came home to create a yummy lunch.
I listened to their sweet conversation through the kitchen window while I worked on a dessert and our supper for that evening. What a beautiful picture I have in my mind of my two youngest children enjoying each other’s company right outside the window. Oh, how I wish that I had taken a photo of them right then. Instead, my mind photo is what I am left with.
Just two or so short hours later, on her way to work, our darling Natalie was killed by a “distracted” driver as he crossed the center line and hit her head-on. He was driving a large Escalade SUV, she was in her yellow Aerio, the car she had worked and saved to buy for a year. She died instantly.
The months that have followed have been filled with much sorrow and grief. Bucket upon bucket of tears have been shed. Countless sleepless nights. Much time spent in contemplative thought and prayer. And yet this garden, unattended for months, still it grows.
The weeds have taken over. The plants are no longer producing. The herbs are dried up. But the flowers; the plants that were chosen to bring beauty to the garden, they continue to grow and bloom.
Amid the chaos that is the garden today, there is still beauty and life.
That’s kind of the way we, as a family, are today. The chaos is in our hearts as they try to heal this huge gaping wound. The chaos is in our minds as we try to make sense of life without our very much loved and adored daughter and sister. The chaos is in our thoughts as we put things into perspective and find that so very much just doesn’t matter. The chaos is in others’ words who don’t have a clue what we are experiencing (and we’re very glad for them) and don’t really know what to say to us (or sometimes even say hurtful things.)
Yet there is this beauty in our chaos as life goes on. The sun still rises and sets. We wake to find there is still work to be done. Still school work to complete. Still meals to be cooked and consumed. Still a farm that needs tending. And we look for those bits of beauty to make all of those tasks possible to complete.
A kind word from a friend, an encouraging note in a Facebook message, a lunch date with a dear one, a promotion at work, braces removed & perfectly straight teeth in their place, a cool breeze on a very hot & humid Tennessee summer day, a phone call just to say hello, a card in the mail amongst the bills, a laugh that can’t be stifled, a smile on the face of one of us with hurting hearts.
These are the beauties that we cling to amidst the chaos.
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