Friday, March 15, 2019

My Remembering Place - Slightly Revised - A Work in Progress

This post is for Day 15 of the 2019 Slice of Life Challenge. Thanks to the Two Writing Teachers for bringing this community of writers together to share our writing in the month of March.

My mom had a small deck outside the back door of our home with just enough room for a couple of chairs and some potted plants. She would watch the birds and rock to the warm summer breezes or sit out there to read and think. It was her quiet place.

There was a wooden railing that surrounded the deck, and my mom had placed narrow flower boxes all along the top of the railing. They were filled with red, yellow and orange begonias, purple petunias and brightly colored lantana. She always had a few hanging plants that hung above the deck. She was an excellent gardener and loved spending time on her deck. It was her flower place.

We often found her out on the deck watering the flowers or pinching off dried blossoms and leaves. Those flower boxes were treasure chests of beauty. She watched her flowers grow and tended them with care. When I joined her on the deck, we would visit and talk about her day and whatever else found its way into our conversation. It was her happy place.

One year during the early summer months she had some health issues and was admitted into the hospital. It turned out the summer was a series of time in and out of the hospital. With so much time away from home, she wasn't able to enjoy her beautiful flowers. It broke my heart when she talked about wanting to go home. I knew she wanted to just sit on her deck and enjoy her flowers.  

I spent most days with her at the hospital and I felt sad when she talked about her flowers. I promised her that I was caring for them and that they were beautiful. She ached to see them. I was determined to find a way to bring the flowers to her. So I took pictures of each beautiful plant and blossom. I had the pictures printed and put together a collage of her flowers in a clear acrylic frame. I brought the frame to the hospital and placed it on the window ledge next to her bed. 

Those days were tough. She would drift in and out of dementia. She slept a lot but I stayed to be with her. When she was alert she made sure that everyone who walked in her room (nurses, doctors, family and friends) saw her beautiful flowers. She was so proud of them. 

Towards the end of that summer she was moved to hospice and within days she was gone. My heart ached. It was difficult to go through the motions of burying my sweet mother. But there was one thing we did for her that I think would make her smile. We took those pictures from the frame and slipped them under the blanket that covered her in her resting place. I know they are with her and that means everything. I like to think that she is digging in the dirt, tending her flowers and enjoying the beautiful blooms. It is her forever place.

These days, I think she would be proud of my garden. I try to be the gardener she was. I cherish the colorful blooms that make me smile. It is my remembering place.