I never met Hazel, who would have been my mother-in-law by virtue of my second marriage. But her flowers grace my walk from the car to the house. I drive a blue Prius which belonged to my mother-in-law Joanna, who was also a gardener. Hence do these women touch my life beyond the grave.
This blog started because of words spoken at Joanna’s funeral, in a time when my life held such different promise than it does now. The priest shared his impressions of Joanna, with whom he had much contact through events at St. Andrew’s. He observed that she had never complained about anything as far as he knew. That comment touched me; and prompted me to try to live complaint-free. Soon after I started this blog, my life’s road veered away from where I had thought to go. I did not choose the detour, which brought me enormous grief. But I adapted.
On Sunday, my friend Katrina will bring her deft gardener’s hands to my side yard, helping me weed, mulch, and plant. We’ll stand over the struggling holly bush and contemplate the potential of saving it. I will try not to mourn the mimosa which came down to make way for the two hollies, the female always ailing, the male thriving, lush and verdant. Katrina’s strong hands will place new plants in the ground, while I bring water and sweep cuttings, grateful for the beauty that she will coax from the tangled mass of weeds. I will try to stay out of the way.
Three days of storms have cleared the air around me. In the backyard, a family of bunnies retreated to the neighbor’s patch when I let the dog out. I stood watching them for a few minutes, breathing the heady fragrance of my neighbor’s blooming rose trellis. Then I went back into the house to start my work day.
It’s the twenty-eighth day of the twenty-eighth month of My Year Without Complaining. Spring surrounds me. Life continues.