Last week I was sitting on the front step, waiting for Bill. I eyed the chrysanthemums I planted years ago; they return faithfully every year bigger and better. Likewise, the lamb's ear, that seems so delicate with its fuzzy leaves, survived the summer's heat and stays into the fall. It rests for winter and returns again in spring. Every year the lamb's ear takes up more and more real estate in the front year. It just grows and grows without any involvement on my part.
Back in June, Marie and I stood for a while in my garden one morning, “I used to have such a beautiful garden. I would plant all along the berms until they overflowed with blossoms and foliage.” Now only the perennials are there and the weeds are overtaking them. “I look at the garden and it is in disarray, and the house is in disarray, and I wonder what is going to happen when I am gone. All these things that I tended to so carefully, so lovingly it will all just disappear.” Marie gazed at me with her beautiful, feline-like blue eyes with a look of dismay. She tried to make me see what I couldn’t: that the family I created, the children I raised, the loving home I helped establish would all go on, that I was already permanently a part of the picture.
As I pored over photos over the last few weeks, I realized how few I had of me and the children. I was always the one behind the lens. "You cannot see me," I thought to myself, looking at a picture of Bill holding to towel wrapped children on a beach in France, "but I was still there." I realize now that I will never really leave. My children, husband, family, friends will carry them with me in their hearts and their memories. Perhaps that is eternal life.