The day after we got back from the hospital I heard a chainsaw in our front yard. I remember turning to Paul and saying “I bet our neighbors are tearing out our bushes.” You see, our “garden” in our front yard is where holly bushes went to die. It was overgrown with weeds, leaves, and terrifying bugs. The holly bushes were in a sad state. Our neighbors are avid gardeners and had been telling us for months that we needed to redo our “garden”. We kept telling them we’d get around to it knowing we’d probably never…it was way low on our priority list.
So, as I peaked out of the curtains I saw my neighbors ripping out our terrible holly bushes. I thought that’s where they’d probably stop and just put in some normal bushes that we would be able to take care of. Nope! Our neighbors spent the entire day making a beautiful rose garden in Cora’s honor. I never cared much for gardens or fresh flowers, but we received an enormous amount of flowers in the weeks after losing Cora. Suddenly, every beautiful flower was a reminder of our sweet girl and a reminder of all the people who cared for her & us. I used to put flowers in vases and not really look at them again. But I took my time looking at all of the flowers that were sent, carefully watering them and doing our best to keep them alive as long as possible. I needed to take care of them.
You see your body does not recognize that you lost a baby. After I give birth, my body acted as though I still had my baby. All of the hormones, all of the maternal instincts are stronger than ever. The need to care for something is extraordinary and protective instincts that we not there are suddenly influencing everything you do. But moms that have lost a child no longer have that child to protect, no longer have that child to mother. There is a giant gaping hole where your child should be. That feeling can be consuming and devastating.
My neighbors will never know exactly how much we needed the garden they planted. Each morning when I leave for work I see the beautiful roses and they make my heart sing. When I come home from work I am greeted by the roses, shining in the early evening sun. There are days when I notice that I didn’t think of Cora as often as before. Initially, it made me feel guilty and sad but then I realized it’s okay. I come home to Cora’s garden and I can spend time with her there. I’ve spent several hours googling “how to prune roses?”, “how long do I need to water my garden?”, and “how often do I need to put down new mulch?”. Once again, google gave me 8 million different answers so I took some of the advice and the rest off instinct.
I spent time on Father’s Day pruning the roses and putting down some new mulch. Picking out every weed I could see and rearranging the little decorations my neighbors included. The garden has become important to me. I need to take care of this garden and to help it thrive. I was so terrified of screwing it up but am proud to say the roses have not only survived, they are thriving. And they bring the biggest smile to my face each morning and each night.
Below are some pictures of the garden. I hope they bring a smile to your face and hope to your heart.
Cheers to the bright side.
**I plan to write a post marking each month that has passed by. I’m a little late on this month but hey, it’s my blog so I make the rules :).**