Yes, they are all related.
Four years (how is that even possible) into the grief journey, I find myself more reflective and less raw. I’m finding more opportunity to cherish Miranda’s memory and legacy, and letting go little by little of my hurts.
The past couple of weeks I’ve been working hard in the garden.
The garden that hasn’t thrived since 2012.
That first spring after Miranda passed away, the garden and the hope of growth was a welcome respite from my raw mourning and a reminder of something I could look ahead to.
But that summer I suffered a miscarriage, and then became pregnant with our rainbow.
Tending the garden slid down my priority list.
In 2013 we had new life in our household and I didn’t have the motivation to work the garden.
In 2014 I had a busy toddler and a mission trip to prepare for, I didn’t want to start a garden only to have it overrun with weeds or dies from lack of water.
This spring it seemed I just couldn’t find the time to get out there in May, or most of June.
Mostly, I was overwhelmed by how much needed to be done. Almost 3 full summers of overgrown weeds, square-foot garden boxes and trellises that needed repairs, a compost system that I couldn’t even find under the overgrowth.
Then, the opportunity came. We had returned home from a trip to Virginia and as an escape from all that needed to be done to unpack and settle from travel, the yard was calling to me.
I started in the front of the house, the flower boxes that can be seen from the street. The first impression of our home. It actually didn’t take long to reclaim that area. Lots of weeding and fresh mulch, we were all set.
Then I ventured into the back of the house to our garden plot. Armed with pink trimmed leather gloves, I was ready. One square-foot plot at a time, I cleared the weeds. Little weeds, mulberry trees, raspberry vines. I didn’t ask the children to help, but a couple of them offered and joined me in the task in little bursts of time.
Honestly, I welcomed the quiet work. It always seems to provide me with time to think clearly, to pray, and to listen.
With each box cleared, my motivation and satisfaction built.
It was when I got to the compost bin that I had the clarity I was in need of, and the ministering my heart needed (even if I didn’t know it).
Wild black raspberry vines and a huge wild wineberry bush had grown up over the past two summers, growing into the compost sections. Our morning glories had spread seed in the compost and had covered just about every inch of all three sections of the bin!
Vince came out to check on me and remarked with surprise that I was pulling up the morning glory vines.
We’re all aware that they are Miranda’s flowers, and I was pulling them from their roots.
I then took pruning shears and cut back most of the fruit branches and pulled their roots as well.
Those actions became a vivid picture of my loss and grief.
The morning glories are beautiful and the berries are sweet and juicy, but when they grow without care, they become little more than weeds.
In the case of my garden they were growing over and covering my compost, the very ingredient I need to have a thriving garden in the future.
Grief left unattended stunts future growth.
I don’t want my loss of motivation, or my overwhelming thoughts to become Miranda’s legacy. I want to thrive because of the beauty she added to our lives.
Some of the berries are still growing, and we are enjoying their fruit!
More little sprouts of morning glory vines are coming up, but I’m careful to tend to them on the border and allow for proper turning so that the compost remains useful.
I’ve also been pleasantly surprised to find that after a few years of trying, morning glories have finally started coming up at Miranda’s grave site!
Embracing the beauty but moving forward from the hurt at the same time.
We can look forward because we have the hope of eternity. We take with us the memories of her face and the longing of our glorious reunion. We cannot remain in the past, she isn’t there, either.
So what does this all have to do with Disney movies?
I know there are many people that aren’t big fans of all the Disney marketing, but their last few movies have really ministered to our family. We’ve pulled redeeming lessons from them, especially Big Hero 6 and Inside out.
Big Hero 6 broached a topic rarely covered, sibling grief. What a blessing for my children to see a character they could relate to, even in a small way. To watch Hiro process through disappointment, anger, and purpose. It was hard and excellent!
While we were in Virginia we caught a matinee of Inside Out. There were so many opportunities to open discussion with all of our children about emotions and their feelings, and it will foster many great talks in the coming months, especially with our adolescent-aged children. The big message we were able to grasp was the relationship between sadness and joy.
You can’t experience the fullness of joy until you embrace and process through the bitterness of sadness.
Now we look forward to what the summer holds. New memories. Healing, and moving forward as a family.
Do you garden? What unexpected lessons have you had through gardening?
Have you found comfort and healing from an unexpected source?