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.