Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Foolish Little Plant

I have not been able to face writing for a bit. Usually it is therapeutic for me but for some reason when I stared at this white space my heart would not allow those thoughts and emotions swirling around in my head to jump on to that space.

It began as I watched my father in law fail before my eyes. He suffered from Alzheimer's and as many of you who have experienced this terrible disease know it is heartbreaking. Many of his final days were such reminders of taking care of my daughter that now I find myself full of vivid memories and dark moments. Many of him but most of my daughter.

For the last three years I have dealt with many feelings by making myself stay busy at all times. Busy with the grandchildren, busy with the family, the chickens, cleaning, cooking, gardening, working....well anything really. Since her death I had not been able to listen to much music. It is just now that I am making myself try to play the piano again, listen to music on my little iPod shuffle while exercising and listening to the radio in the car. It brings on emotions that I am trying to stay away from. There are days when I now listen that it feels like just one step away from sinking into dark despair.

But to face some of these feelings I was told is the way to a brighter outcome. I know as I remember Kyla, I do now remember how she looked before she was so ill. I do now remember her huge laugh that was so contagious. I do now remember her love of life and her daughters. I do now remember her love of Martha Stewart, decorating, trying new recipes, gardening, history, her sisters and brother and how fiercely protective she felt about all of her family.

Several years ago the farmer bought me an Angel's Trumpet for the deck. I fell in love with this beautiful plant and needed to have one on my deck each summer. I have not had one for the past two years. There are things that are painful reminders of my daughters last days and this is one of them.

Kyla and I used to sit on the in the swing on the deck on the days she would let me take her outside. I had a huge Angel's Trumpet which would open up after the day had cooled off and close around noon the next day when the heat would threaten to wilt the beautiful flowers. One day Kyla walked over to the plant and began to pull all the closed flowers off and drop them on the deck. My first reaction was to stop her as I watched all of the flowers drop. When I saw her I asked what she was doing she said "I'm just helping you mom".

Of course she meant that she was dead heading the flowers to keep them blooming. So even though this would not have helped this particular plant and that wicked disease had destroyed her ability to think clearly there were still little glimmers of things that she knew were right. In her mind she was helping me to keep those blooms alive.

I finally bought an Angel's Trumpet this summer and painful as that memory may be it is somehow comforting as well. For to look at this beauty I can clearly see her standing there, her hand reaching out and plucking every last bloom knowing that she was thinking of me in that moment. Yes it is a comfort.

A foolish little plant. Yes. A painful reminder. Yes. Necessary for me. Yes.


CeeCee said...

I can't begin to imagine how difficult this has all been. You think you've begun to move forward from the pain, and then something pops you upside the head. Losing a child has got to be the hardest thing any human ever has to do. So many 'what ifs', 'what should have beens'.

For a solid year after my mom died, I couldn't be alone with my thoughts. I needed a distraction from the quiet times. What was hard, was that I used to love the quiet---wandering around in my garden by myself, driving in the car w/o the radio on.

I don't know really how my story compares to yours, but I want you to know that I understand your sadness, but also know that they are not the same.

Prayers and hugs for you. Take care of yourself and try to enjoy the flowers. They are beautiful.

Juri said...

Painful memories! Wow, I know exactly what you mean! When we lose our children, no matter what age, we need our memories, no matter how painful they can be. Sometimes we need to "clearly see them standing there", and perhaps your flowers will give you those moments.

Karen K. said...

That was beautifully written. I think that I, as a "bystander" tend to believe that all is well when in reality it may not be. I have gotten caught up in my own little world and troubles and have assumed that you're just fine and that the passing of time has healed most of the pain. How crazy am I??? Thank you for reminding me to be more aware and sensitive of what others' may be dealing with and for reminding me that healing takes time, sometimes a long time--and that I can't just assume someone's state of mind is good when in reality they may be struggling mightily. I heard good ol' Dr. Phil say once: "Time doesn't heal all wounds, it's what you do with the time..." You are strong and you are wise--it sounds as if it is time for the Angel's Trumpet to make a re-appearance in your life. You are now in my thoughts and in my prayers. Thank you for sharing.

Trish said...

What a powerful post. That may not have been your intent, but it certainly was a result. I can not begin to imagine the pain you have experienced or to understand how and when the healing begins. Thank you for sharing this story. Today I will hug my kids a little more and you and your family will be in my thoughts.

noble pig said...

I have wondered where you have been but thought you migt be dealing with painful memories. Sometimes the clearest path to healing is one that involves dealing with the memories that hurt most. I can't imagine your sadness and pain, I don't even know how I would deal with your same situation. I ope you find some healing and peace. I wish you the best now and always.

Carolynn said...

I've been wondering about your recent silence and I've been missing you.

I can offer no solace or words of wisdom to help you with this journey you're on. I truly cannot imagine how difficult it must be for you and my heart goes out to you.

Your daughter sounds like a wonderful woman who gave of herself and lived her life with love, fully in the moment. A blessing, however brief her stay.

You are an amazing woman, Vonda and I'm honoured to be able to sit with you as you share your memories from time to time.

Mental P Mama said...

I've been missing you. And there is nothing foolish about anything with this plant. Sending hugs and light.

Kristi said...

Yes, I've been missing you too. Thank you for the beautifully written post. Although I can't imagine your pain, I hope the plant reminds you and brings back all the smiles your daughter brought you. My Father-In-Law was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I know my husband and Mother-In-Law have a rough journey ahead. I hope I'm able to be supportive in the ways they need.

Kristi said...

Oh sis - what a beautiful post! I so understand the feeling of not wanting to do certain things because it recalls the pain. It took me several years to be able to listen to certain songs or drive by certain places. I still get the dread feeling when we drive into Portland because of Lexie's journies there. I love you sis - I'm so sorry you've had to go through this - your are a beautiful writer and person.

Deb said...

So glad to see your post.....The angels trumpet is beautiful - it's wonderful that you have one this year and it brings you such good feelings and wonderful memories.

I'm so sorry for your loss...I honestly cannot image how you bear it but am so glad that you are slowly finding your joy in your daughter's memories :)


Linda Reeder said...

My heart is aching for you. My sister has lost two children and I know the saddness will always be with her. She, too, handles it by keeping busy.
I have missed you here in blog world. I hope you are emerging from this low point and can find some peace and pleasure in life again.

Jill said...

In a way, reading this was helpful to me, Mom. I've often wondered how you deal so well, and I've even said so to W. I've told him I couldn't imagine what type of pain you must be feeling, losing your daughter, as I could hardly bare the agony of losing my beloved sister. There were days I had to force myself away from thoughts of her just to make it through. Times I still feel sick to my stomach with missing her. I would then see you, the busy bee that you are, uplifting and constantly on the go, and wonder, "How does Mom do it???" Some of my only comfort was to open up to you on occasion, even though I'm not especially comfortable speaking of my deepest feelings. I love Angel's Trumpet story, and I can completely imagine Kyla saying that very thing!!! I know I've said it to you before, but I don't think I've said it enough: I am SO GLAD she had you to take care of her at the end. So so so glad that we were blessed with such a tender, loving mother! :o) I love you Mom!!!

Tipper said...

Oh my goodness, bless your heart and all those supposedly soothing sayings come to my mind. I know they don't mean anything to you-how could they? But I do totally relate to your wonderful beautiful moving post. Everything seems to have a memory tied to it when we hurt-when we loose. I'm thrilled for you-thrilled you can remember the good-thrilled you can look at the Angel Trumpet and once again see beauty through the pain.

Twisted Fencepost said...

This is a beautiful post. And with the post and all the comments it has moved me to tears. I can only relate by the loss of my parents. And the loss of a child through divorce. I got the girl, he got the boy. But the X drove a wedge between me and my children. Sometimes the pain of a broken bond between Mother and child is more than I can bear.
I am glad you are finding peace within. It is something I strive daily to find.