She was 80 years old, terminally ill and had loved gardening all her life. She filled her yard with beautiful flowers and an abundance of vegetables. She enjoyed the peace and satisfaction it gave her. Only using what was needed, she usually gave away the vegetables to family members or visitors.
When I told her I had a job as a part-time Backyard Garden Coordinator, she suggested that it might be nice to have a vegetable garden. When I reminded her of the promise I made to myself when I was 10, about never being a gardener when I grew up, she said to me, “darling things change, that was then and this is now.”
I agreed to give it a go, I phoned my brother and he sent his son around to dig the garden for us. We placed the garden, where my mother could see it from her bedroom window. I got the plants from the nursery and brought them home and took them all into my mother’s bedroom to show her.
She was elated, and quickly gave me the oral transmission on placing the sheep pellets, blood, and bone, and compost in the garden. Then she made me draw a plan detailing where she wanted each vegetable planted in the garden. She dispatched me to plant the garden whilst she watched from her bedroom window.
20 minutes into the planting I heard her ring the bell which she has at her bedside to call me when she needs something. The bell ringing was followed by her hand outstretched from her window beckoning me to her. When I got there she gave me a few tips to help with the planting and reminded me to follow the plan we discussed.
From time to time whilst planting I would look up at her window and see her giving me the thumbs-up sign. When I finished planting I looked up and noticed she wasn’t there, I hurried inside to see if she was okay. When I got to her room, she was asleep, I woke her up to see if she was okay, and she replied, “yes she was just tired from doing her garden.” She was so happy and murmured to me before falling asleep, that I was not to forget to water the garden.
That garden bought her so much joy. Looking out her window daily and watching the plants grow. It was a small thing but it gave her so much pleasure. It made me think she was right, things change. That was then and this is now.
This is just a lovely, reflective and honest piece and mirrors in many ways work with those left behind – to move forward with change and remember always
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