After a very long time, I pulled the stubby stems from the dirt. The four times or more repotted “lipstick plant” was not thriving.
The plant sent by my fellow choir members at the time of my mother’s death. Inside, then outside, repotted and revived, try and tried again until it was decidedly time to let it go.
The forest like ferns in the window box were just there, not thriving either. My master gardener cousin suggested them and I liked that she called them “Fall ferns.” To me they looked like a walk in the woods, a reminder of creeks and pine trees.
My husband’s recent hospitalization (he’s greatly improved) reminded me not then, but yesterday, I’m good at operating on auto-pilot.
I’m skilled at begin subtly hyper-vigilant, of draping myself in sort of an emotional bubble wrap.
And praying throughout it all, praying believing in the power of prayer and the nearness of God,
Until I’m not.
Until I remember, “this feels like that”.
While I believe in my healing because of my faith in Jesus, the physicality of past trauma and memories are remnants and threads in my tapestry. I’d love to believe I’ll one day not be affected, but I’m more hopeful in knowing my hopefulness in this regard is real progress.
Is peace, is going forward in peace.
Still, conversations about options for life, long days hoping for turnarounds, ICU waiting rooms with siblings taking turns to visit and calls with the announcement “gone” are realities I have experienced.
No wonder it all came back to knock me off my feet when I quit trudging forward in a fog, when I finally slowed down.
Grief catches up. Trauma is skillful in its tactics.
It’s best that we not avoid it, rather go down the road again and again to the place where the view is more clear, better, an invitation to known peace and comfort.
Allowing the intellectual revelation that my life has been affected by trauma and loss, I have an understanding of the fallout rather than falling apart because of it.
I am in tune with myself.
I can grieve what happened back then in a way that brings a tender resurgence of sadness, but not one that destroys me.
Because I know Jesus told many “to go in peace because you’re now well, you are healed”, but the brain often rebels.
I’m not a clinician.
I believe understanding leads to disciplined healing and I don’t think remembering our hard things is always detrimental. I believe it leads to both understanding and to gratitude for who we are now
Despite what happened then.
Remember my mama’s broken pot with the miraculously spreading succulents from her funeral?
Well, they withered like an old flattened tire. The December frost took them. I brought the pot inside, too late, maybe.
I ran my fingers across the soil and tried to help the plants perk up.
Just one tiny plant like a miniature palm is standing. I’ll wait before adding more. I’ll hope more will rejuvenate on their own, find the nourishment to keep on.
The window box ferns are limelight green in the terra cotta pot. They’re happier on the porch in new soil. They must love the chance to grow in the place where death was accepted to invite new flowering.
Life continues. Life reminds.
New days bring new acceptances of our responses that hinder our acceptance of hardship or hope and invite us to know which are best.
To be brave enough to know ourselves and even braver to invite a new perspective.
Or not so new, just remembered.
Redeeming our days, because we’ve been redeemed.
Knowing ourselves in light of knowing the God who knows even more deeply and says I’m with you here, I was with you there.
Go in peace, daughter.
Go in peace.
Be gentle with yourself. Keep growing.
“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”
Isaiah 55:12 ESV