Early on in my grief journey, I knew I wanted to create a memorial garden in our backyard. I knew I needed a physical place to embrace my memories of Scott. A sacred place to cradle his ashes. A living place to celebrate his life.
Although my desire from the beginning was to create a place of remembering, it took us almost five years to find the energy to create Scott’s Garden. The lethargy of grief is very real ~ often impeding travelers along the journey from moving forward, even toward a healing place.
I remember some of my thoughts as we worked to clear out the overgrowth that had crept into our side yard. The task was difficult ~ down on my hands and knees in the dirt, pulling up the weeds that clung to the ground. I remember thinking ~
I am not done being Scott’s mom. How I long to fix your favorite meals, wash your soccer uniform, help you with homework, spend time talking and laughing with you. Oh, how I wanted my job back.
And then I realized what a healing place Scott’s Garden was to be. Each sprig of spurge I pulled up by the roots was indeed an act of love, an investment in what had been, and a tribute to his short sixteen years of life with us. Each flower and tree we planted became a testament to life.
There have been many lessons learned as we transformed this plot of yard into Scott’s Garden.
This past week as we celebrated Scott’s 30th birthday, we worked in the garden with our daughter Amy and our three grandchildren. Although we cannot give Scott actual presents, we chose to purchase new plants for his garden.
And as we dug around the soil to find the best place to plant the newest signs of life, we uncovered dormant bulbs from lilies set out at Easter time. I shared with my grandchildren the excitement and symbolism of these bulbs.
For there in Scott’s Garden where we grieve with hope ~ remembering his death and celebrating his life ~ there was the promise of reunion. Jesus said in John 12:24-25 ~
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
So, here in Scott’s Garden, I recognize that I am still Scott’s mom as I cherish my relationship of memory with him. Here among the dormant bulbs and pruned roses of winter, I embrace my sorrow that he is not here. And as I stand back and recognize the beauty of God’s creation, I rejoice in the hope of that blessed reunion that is to come.