with Lynne and Leslie

Trees and plants and Gwyneth Paltrow

by SweetMidlife

 

Lynne here.

As I write this, I am watching an interview with Gwyneth Paltrow and she’s talking about being a mom, and how moms give each other a hard time (which we’ve talked about before), but first she talked about the death of her father, Bruce, a few years back.. She was actually with him in Italy on a trip, just the two of them, and she was with him when he passed away. Theirs was the strongest relationship in her life, so she was devastated when he died, but she talked about how she had grown since his passing because she has had to find her own way.

Living. Something that those left behind have to do.   Growing.  Something we hopefully will do.

The idea of growing and going on has been summed up for me lately in green things.  Four times in the past few months, after my Dad died, I have been given some sort of plant or flower or something.  First, a close friends sent me flowers that arrived at my Mom’s house the morning of my Dad’s funeral in Arkansas.  They were beautiful and vibrant and smelled so good. They brought brightness to what was going to be a really sad day.  Next, a dear friend who lost her mother a few years ago sent me a lovely letter with comforting words about how hard losing a parent is, but how you get through it.  Inside the envelope she included flower seeds.  She explained that someone close to gives her seeds, not already living flowers,  because you have the opportunity to watch them grow.  She said that I should plant them and think of my Dad as they sprout, live, and go on.

The next time was at my Dad’s memorial service in September, that we held in Maryland for the friends and family who couldn’t travel during the summer.  One of my very best friends had a beautiful green plant delivered to the church, and it sits by my door.  It is lovely, and alive, and is, thankfully, very resilient, as it bounces back when I forget to water it.  But bounce back it does when it is cared for and tended to.

Today, our elderly neighbors, a really sweet couple in their 80’s, drove down the street to give me a Poinsettia that someone gave them, but that they had to part with because they were afraid their cat would eat it.  “We remembered you said that your parents were coming for the holidays, so we thought it would be nice.”  “Parent, singular, ” I wanted to remind them, but that wasn’t necessary, or the point.  The point, it hit me as I walked back inside, a little teary, is that it was bright, and flowering and currently flourishing.

All four living things, some that need to be enjoyed now, because they have a limited shelf life. One, green and sturdy, has the potential to last a long time if it is nourished.  One, not yet born, but full of possibility, soon to sprout. I am not sure where I am on this scale of plants, in terms of growth and healing.  I feel in some ways like the seed, at the beginning of this process, while at other times I am like the plants, full of life because I have to be, because the baby needs a mom who is present and my husband needs a wife who is present, and I need a me who is present, and growing, and living the life that is in front of me, as God and those who love me tend to me. And that brings me back to being the seed.  I am not sure all of the time where I am going, and some days I feel like I am going backwards in sadness as I mourn my father and my time with him, but mostly, I see the possibilities in this life that I have now, and the one that lies before me.  And it gives me hope.  Daddy got me this far. And now I go on. Growing. Flourishing. Living.

 


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