August 7, 2019
My son, and my Mom and Dad, are all buried at the same cemetery at two different graves but relatively close to one another, since it’s a small rural cemetery. Soon after their deaths, I would plant new annual flowers every year. But maintaining them was difficult, since we had to check and water them on a regular basis. So at some point in time, we decided to plant perennials, which come up every year. Other than cutting them back each fall, they’re easy to maintain.
So I planted these flowers probably ten or more years ago on both graves. We put a lot of thought into which flowers we chose to plant. For my son we chose a plant with beautiful purple flowers, which was a significant color for him. As the years went by, the plant did get pretty tall and wide. In fact, by midsummer, it blocked the front of Joey’s stone completely. But we didn’t care because for us it was a tribute to him. We always tried to keep it manageable by trimming it throughout the summer.
This past weekend, my husband and I went up to the cemetery, because we knew Joey’s plant probably needed a good trim. But low and behold, as we walked towards his grave, we discovered the plant had been cut down right to the ground. You might say, what’s the big deal ? But to us it was devastating! We’re assuming the caretaker accidentally mowed it down, or thought it was dead. Another possibility is that someone we know thought that they were doing us a favor.
Needless to say, I cried! This was more than just some random plant. It was something we specially chose and nurtured for Joey. So we literally had to dig out the roots because we knew it would never recover this season. We didn’t want a stump of a plant on his grave.
As we got into our truck, I shared with my husband that I probably would be back the next day to plant new flowers. Knowing how important it was for me, my husband drove to a nursery where we chose two new plants with purple flowers and planted them on Joey’s grave. If we didn’t do it, I wouldn’t have been able to sleep until we did.
I guess the point of this story is, although this plant didn’t mean anything to the person who cut it down without permission, it meant a lot to us. Although it might seem like only a plant to most, it was part of our healing and survival after our son’s death. Abruptly losing it was actually another loss for us. So if you know anyone who has lost a child, tread gently, because although something connected to their deceased child may seem inconsequential to you, it might mean the world to them.
So the new flowers we planted in Joey’s memory will be beautiful, as we begin a new chapter in our survival.