Almost nine years ago, I looked inside the brown paper grocery bag Mom handed to me. It was heavy. There were around 100 flower bulbs in the bag. Little pieces of dirt hung on to some of them, and other dirt fell off and got lost on the bottom of the bag.
“Did you dig all of these out of the garden all by yourself?” I asked.
She nodded yes. Mom was 77 years old at the time, and I marveled at her strength and determination. How could she dig all these bulbs out of the garden all by herself. Her little frame of a body could be blown away by a strong wind. She dug them out a little bit everyday until she was rid of the ones that she no longer wanted to decorate her garden.
“Mom, I can’t plant all of these in my garden. I don’t have enough room.”
“You can give some of them to your friends.”
So I planted the ones that I could, and I gave some away to friends. I planted the daffodil bulbs in the small garden in the corner of our yard. I started at the front, and I spaced them out by the length of the handle of the shovel that I used to dig the holes. Mom instructed me how deep the hole should be, and she made sure that I knew which way the bulb should point. If you plant them upside down, it doesn’t work.
As I dug each hole I understood what Mom must have been going through when she dug them out of her garden. Not only was it something for her to do and if you have a little bit of anger inside, I found that it is good to dig with a shovel into the ground. Even though you think you understand why things happen, how the circle of life keeps turning, and how there is nothing we can do about it, I understood Mom wanted the flowers to bloom in my garden. She wanted them there as a memory of my Dad who died earlier that year.
The next spring, the beautiful daffodils pointed their faces towards the sun and smiled at me, like I always hope Dad is doing. Every year since then, and this year, they are blooming beautifully. Mom joined Dad almost two weeks ago now. I am thankful for the many gifts she gave me, and right now I am especially thankful for the daffodils. Mom’s daffodils are smiling at me, and I could use a smile right about now.
What a beautiful way to say it, My irises she gave to me are getting ready to smile at me!
I’m glad to hear that! The irises Mom gave to me don’t do very well in my garden. I don’t think they get enough sunlight. I’ll never be the gardener my Mom was. But, I’m glad she taught me how to tell the difference between a flower and a weed.
That was really beautiful Mary Ann, I’m sorry to hear about your mom. But her flowers will live on and every spring you will see her smiling at you. The best part is you can always take her with you should you decide to move and you can pass your mom’s daffodils on to your own children and start a new tradition.
I pray for peace for your heart.
Thanks for your comforting words, Jodi.
Hi, Mary Ann, This is a beautiful way to remember your parents. I have my own memory sitting in my back yard, and I’m so glad I can smile when I look out. So sorry for the loss of your mom a short time ago. (Thank you for stopping by my blog)
Mary Ann, we love your website! Your daffodils story is touching, and we totally agree with your take on our generation. Just so you know, Tersa and I were huge David Cassidy fans, and I’m still convinced I am the lost Partridge. Blessings to you and yours, and we are glad you liked our Fashion Meets Faith stories. Joni and Teresa, the jct67twins.
I am so so sorry for your loss. Growing in my yard are the irises my mom dug up and moved from every house she ever lived in. When she passed away in 1989, the kids divided them into seven bunches and we think of her every time we see them. My mom’s favorite poem was “Daffodils” by Longfellow. You probably know it, but in case you don’t, here it is.
by William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850)
I wander’d lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils,
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch’d in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:—
A poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company!
I gazed, and gazed, but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
Thank you so much for sharing this poem and posting it on my blog!
This is lovely. We, also, have many plantings that came from family members that we have moved from home to home. In fact, I have one plant — my grandmother’s — that is over 50 years old. I love the idea that they are forever blooming and that keeps my grandparents and my husbands grandparents alive. Each spring they remind us they were here.
I bopped over from Writing On Edge. Nice to meet you. 😉
Thank you for stopping by! I like that people hold onto plantings from their family members. What a nice way to keep your memories alive. Nice to meet you too!
Beautiful tribute, in many ways: to your mother’s strength of character and love for your father and you, to your love for your mother and your father, to beauty. And what perfect lines “Not only was it something for her to do and if you have a little bit of anger inside, I found that it is good to dig with a shovel into the ground. Even though you think you understand why things happen, how the circle of life keeps turning, and how there is nothing we can do about it, I understood Mom wanted the flowers to bloom in my garden. “
Lovely tribute to your mother, and a sweet memory. Daffodils to me are the promise of warmth, spring, new beginnings. To have that as a way of remembering your mother each year is a reward or a gift from her to you.
That’s a lovely remembrance. I’m sorry for your loss.