Tonight when I got home from my mom's house, I walked into the back yard with the kids. I showed them the plants we had put in our garden boxes that are now producing fruit and the ones from seeds are popping out of the dirt. I started to pull the weeds and something made me go to George's garden. I had been back there a few weeks ago and pruned the dead things off the plants that we planted there last year.
It was quite disappointing last year when we planted them that weeds kept popping up and took over most of the garden. Hugh and I were both so upset that our vision for his memorial garden had been taken over and not become what we had hoped it would. As I pruned them I still felt quite disappointed and didn't think that much would come of the garden but boy was I wrong. Tonight my walk back there proved to me that no matter what I think, sometimes I am pleasantly surprised.
Some of the flowers were in bloom and many had actually filled out and really started to look like the garden I had envisioned last year. My beautiful yellow roses(I had to plant some since that was what I had chosen for his funeral) are starting to bud and fill out into beautiful bushes! There were still some weeds but now that the flowers are coming in there are a lot less as the beautiful plants take over the intruding weeds from last year. There are still spots where there are plenty of weeds since some of the plants died. We are going to have to replace the few that have not returned this year but wow it is going to be so beautiful!!! I am so excited and I will surely have to take pictures.
All that being said, I had initially just intended to post about the garden but as I was typing realized how much this whole experience just really related to life and the loss of my son. The first year in planting a garden is much like the first year following the loss of a loved one. Pain is at every single turn just like the weeds that overcame my garden last year. Such disappointment and emotions we just don't always expect pop up everywhere just like those weeds did. The years following are full of more blooms and less weeds.
Never will you be weed free but somehow each year produces more flowers and beautiful plants. This only being the beginning of my second year since loosing my son, I can't say for sure but I am going to say that is how each year is going to happen. My son's memories are the beautiful flowers in bloom and the pain, sadness, and bad memories are those weeds. Never will I be rid of them but I am hoping that each year more blooms will take over where the weeds were. This year so far has had it's own set of tough spots but it is very different than last year was and although the pain is real, I have learned better how to live with George in heaven.
There are things that I will have to replace each year in the garden but I think that is just like relationships that we come across as we walk the path of grief. Many of the pinwheels had lost their color and cute little garden stakes made from wood have just fallen apart. The ceramic statues I purchased are still standing tall and beautiful just as they were last year. To me the garden stakes were the relationships in life that were there for a few moments to help through some of the tough patches but ones that just did not withstand past the short time that God placed it in my life. The statues are representative of those who have stood by us through it all and in some instances our relationship has gotten stronger. It is kind of like a garden statue...you place it and it is a little wobbly due to the unevenness of the ground but eventually settles in and is not going anywhere.
There are moments in our lives, especially when dealing with grief, when we feel as if the weeds are going to take over. Often times I feel that way when the challenges seem as if they are too much for me to handle. If you let them do so it is allowing the weeds to take over and it will kill part of who you are just like it took out some of the plants in my garden. You can choose to leave that space barren where weeds can grow again or you can choose to replant a seed and watch it bloom and care for it so that the weeds cannot find a place there again. The more we choose to allow bloom the better our lives will be and although it isn't always easy, it will truly be worth it in the end when your garden is beautiful!
I still find it amazing how God can use something as simple as a walk to the garden to speak to our hearts and teach us life lessons. Many times I feel so overwhelmed by life and all that we have been through but these are the moments I am reminded that even when I feel alone, I truly do not walk alone. The new plants will add more to the garden and although not what I planned, will add their own set of beauty just like the new memories I will create with my children and husband. George's memories will be intertwined always just as the new plants will mix with the old. He will never be gone and we will always include him in our new memories as we create them since he is forever in our hearts. Create your own garden real or just in your heart and find a way to allow more flowers to bloom and less weeds to take over.
George's Guardian's of Grace Projects
Stocking project is now in full force collecting donations. We have a list of the items we can use. You can also choose to sponsor a stocking in memory or honor of someone else. We will include a paragraph or two in the cards we place in the stockings to let the recipient know about the person that means so much to you. Our paypal account is posted on this page and ready to take donations. Email us for a list of items needed or with any questions or information you would like included on a sponsored stocking/donation.
Video Tributes/Celebration of Life Footage
Here is a link to a video tribute that was made by Richard's dad in memory of George. Get out your tissues!
We Finally have footage from the service up and running:
It is in 4 sections running about 17 mins each. If you were unable to attend, you can now see what you missed. We were so blessed to have everyone there with us in person and in spirit!