Mama’s Garden

I have a lot of good memories of my mama, some of them, surprisingly, from the time she was dying.

A little back history for clarification—

By the time she was in her late 80s, Mama’s heart was failing from simply being “worn out,” as her doctor put it. Knowing her time was limited, she asked not to be taken to the hospital under any circumstances, to be allowed to die at home. My siblings and I honored her wishes. We arranged our schedules so two of us could be there around the clock to care for her, supplemented with visits from hospice. During this four-month period, a lot of Mama-memories were added to my considerable store, some heart wrenching, some bittersweet, and all priceless.

One day in early fall, I was with Mama when she wanted to see her garden. I’m sure she missed it. She had always enjoyed “digging in the dirt,” whether it was working in her flower beds or tending the large vegetable patch behind the house. Over the years, when I dropped by to visit, if the weather was passable, many times that’s where I’d find her. I think for her the inside of the house was of secondary importance—except for cooking, but that’s another story.

That day, my sister, brother and his wife were there as well, and the four of us got Mama into a wheelchair and rolled her outside into the warm, sunny day.

We started across the bumpy yard, brother pushing the chair, and were doing fine until he hit a chughole in the thick Bermuda grass. The wheelchair stopped abruptly and Mama almost shot out of it. Of all things, she burst out laughing, and with a smidgen of relief that she had stayed put in the chair, the four of us laughed along with her.

Then we were off again, a bit more slowly this time.

When we reached the edge of the garden, brother parked the chair and set the brake. Mama looked out over plants that were still mostly green and growing, saying nothing. I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through her mind, how she felt about not being able to do what she had always done, how she couldn’t just get out of that chair, walk out in the rows and start weeding.

I don’t remember if sister, brother, sister-in-law, or I talked to fill the silence; all I remember is feeling sad as I stood there staring at Mama’s garden. And I remember wishing, as I had many times after Mama’s health started deteriorating, that I could give her some of my healthy years. But life doesn’t work that way, and she wouldn’t have taken them if such a thing had been possible. Mamas aren’t like that.

After a time, Mama closed her eyes and turned her pale face to the sun. And smiled.

That beautiful smile took away a little of my sadness, and lives on in my memory, warming my heart until the day I can see it again.

©️2019 KT Workman

14 thoughts on “Mama’s Garden

  1. You’ve successfully helped me make a conscious decision to fill my own mother’s mind with good memories. I am very please and impressed that both you and your brother went out of your way to spend time with her. Many people these days lose the plot and focus on the less important things in life only to live to regret it when it’s too late.
    Brilliantly written as per.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Neither…it’s a photo I got from Pixabay, a site that has free photos you can use. Sadly, I don’t have a photo of my mama’s garden, other than in my mind.
      Thanks for dropping by.

      Like

  2. That is a beautiful memory that you have of your mother and a wonderful moment of connection that you will always have! As a gardener I can appreciate your mom’s desire to play in the dirt and be close to her garden. I know that some of my gardens are the results of years of work. I remember many of the plants, like starting my lavendar by seed and these are associated with even more memories. Did you ever help your mom in the garden growing up?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your wonderful comment.
      Yes, growing up, my sisters and I put in a lot of hours working in the garden, and helping can and freeze the produce. It was required. 🙂 I also gardened when I was a young adult, but now I live in a city, and don’t have the room to garden. One of my sisters inherited my mother’s love of gardening. Her two acres are utilized for both vegetable and ornamental gardening. I love visiting!

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      1. I bet your mom was thinking of you all working in the garden together and all the great meals she made for your family that came from there! I inherited my love of gardening from my grandparents and some of my best memories are the talks I used to have with my grandma while weeding and her bringing us ice cream cones for helping.

        Liked by 1 person

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