Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Seasons of Life

This August will be the two year anniversary of our mother's passing. Not a day goes by that I don't think about her and today I especially can't seem to shake the the heaviness in my heart. Perhaps, it is because February of last year is around the time we learned that mom had brain cancer. I suppose the sadness surrounding this time of year will forever remain etched in my heart. It was a time of chaos but we also had hope. Our entire family and our spouses set out to Seattle's Harborview Hospital to consult with the best of the best doctors. Of course, we were expecting some inkling of hope that maybe, just maybe there would be some sort of treatment for her. Unfortunately, there was no magical cure. Mom endured chemo and radiation for over a year until she just couldn't do it anymore.... mentally or physically. The family respected her wishes and she stopped all treatment. Mom kept a cheerful and positive attitude even up until she passed away early in August of 2008. She and my dad would have been married for nearly 58 years. Not too many people can say that now days.

Today I happened to be going through garden photos and found this one. Mom's favorite summer flowers were petunias. She would buy the Wave Petunias and fill an entire garden. We planted those (above) from seed last year and they were beautiful. (I think she had something to do with it :) For some reason the petunias reminded me of a passage from the book "Motherless Daughters" by Hope Edelman. It relates to how our mothers continue to influence our lives long after they are gone. Working together in the garden is but a small part of how my parents influenced me but it was the most memorable. Here is the passage:

"The Redwoods"
By Hope Edelman

"In the redwood ecosystem, buds for future trees are contained in pods called burls, tough brown knobs that cling to the bark of the mother tree. When the mother tree is logged, blown over, or destroyed by fire-when, in other words, she dies-the trauma stimulates the burls' growth hormones. The seeds release, and trees sprout around her, creating the circle of daughters. The daughter trees grow by absorbing the sunlight their mothers cedes them when she dies. The receive the moisture and nutrients they need from their mother's root system, which remains intact underground even after her leaves die. Although the daughters exist independently of their mother above ground, they continue to draw sustenance from her underneath.
For years, I searched for my mother in the air or the cosmos around me. I kept forgetting to look under my feet. The foundation she gave me in my first seventeen years was a solid one. If it hadn't been, I don't think I could have managed on my own after she died....I am fooling myself when I say that my mother exists now only in the photograph on my bulletin board or in the outline of my hand or in the armful of memories I still hold tight. She lives on beneath everything I do. Her presence influenced who I was, and her absence influences who I am. Our lives are shaped as much by those who leave us as they are by those who stay."


  1. Beautiful post Sunny, and a beautiful picture :)

  2. Sunny...beautiful....i lost my mother in August of 2006 to pancreatic cancer...and me too...not a day goes by that i don't think about her. I love to garden as did she and when i am out in my garden now, everytime i see this one dove come sit in the cherry tree..i wonder.......

  3. Thanks Kary....I am very sorry about your mother....It sounds like we were both lucky to have such wonderful moms. It's funny you should mention the dove because I have had that same experience after my mom passed. I also remember my mom telling me that she had this dove that would come sit in tree while she worked in her flower bed after my grandpa passed away. I wonder too....

  4. Never put off till tomorrow what may be done today..........................

  5. you are soooo right....thanks!

  6. I found your blog today, and I was happy I did! We have some common interests: gardening and beer brewing! And I had a chuckle at the "no beer until home remodeling is complete" since we've been there/done that before! My spouse brewed yesterday after a long remodeling-inspired break!

    I'm also mourning my mom-in-law these days. We lost her to cancer in October. She was such a vibrant part of our lives and a positive, loving force up until the end. The last year was tough on her, but we had some happy times together. She sat in the shade of our yard last summer and watched us work, marveling at the various plants and the sunshine. The loss is hard, but the love she gave us sustains us still.

  7. Welcome to the Beer Garden Janice!

    We have been (in one way or another) in some phase of home remodeling for so long that I can't take it much longer :) It seems like we keep adding to the list and not crossing anything off....oh well...we shall prevail some day....and we will probably brew before it's over :)

    My husband actually does the brewing but I help in the bottling and sanitizing department. I enjoy drinking it though. lol

    I'm sorry about your mom-in-law....Cancer is such a horrible thing. My mom tried to pull a few weeds now and again but towards the end she could only watch as well. Before she passed though she told me it made her happy that we decided to make the "family garden". I think in part because she liked watching the entire family spend good times together.

    I'm glad you found the blog!

  8. Hello dear friend....enjoyed reading all the comments mom lived for her garden too..her last summer i would cut blue canterbury bells and place them in vases in her bedroom with her little rock that said "believe"....and that dove is here in my garden...everyday...and we wonder....

    thanks for stopping by Farmhouse..always happy to see you

    sending love

  9. Thanks Kary....that is a very touching...I believe that the dove is no coincidence. Your mom sounds like she was a very special lady. Thanks for relating your really helps to talk with others who have been there.