If you know me or have been following me for awhile, it’s not news to you that I learn a lot from Nature. Nature speaks to me, teaches me and a lot of times it is my heart’s remedy on difficult days. After the last Spring frost, which was the end of April in 2022, I planted a variety of wildflower seeds in front of my house where tall bulky hedges used to sit. About 8 days later I noticed the seeds had already begun to sprout and I was so excited to see my first ever seed garden begin to grow (I’m easily entertained)!
As I approach the end of year three in this journey of child loss, over the last several months I’ve caught myself looking back and seeking to articulate how I felt in the minutes, hours, days and weeks that ticked on after Caleb died.
I’m nothing. My canvas is blank. I am hallow. I’m a wasteland. I’m depleted. I’m lost. I’m disoriented. I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I am. The puzzle I’ve been carefully building for more than 17 years is broken, scattered, trampled. I’m suffocating. I’m crushed. I am deflated.
I heard a quote earlier this year and it has stuck with me. “A garden doesn’t begin with seeds, it begins with dirt” and it got me thinking about my grief. When I had a large section of dirt in the front of my house, I decided to plant some seeds this past Spring. When the seeds began to sprout and the sprouts began to grow and buds started appearing, the anticipation of what the flowers would look like kept drawing me back to the garden day after day. I don’t know exactly how much rain we’ve had in the last 3 months, but I can tell you it hasn’t been much at all! With that being said, I’ve had to water the flowers every day or two to make sure they didn’t die in this intense heat! As I watered them I realized how closely the process of this flower garden relates to my grief journey. As I wrote above, when Caleb died I was dwindled down to nearly nothing. I was so low and it was so dark that there was no low, left. I was sinking fast and wanted nothing more than to go to sleep and never wake up again. The pain was too intense, too sharp, too much. It would have been so easy to stay in that place had it not been for a teeny, tiny, little seed of faith. That seed was planted inside of me long before August 12, 2019. I knew it was my lifeline and was not going to let it go but n the early days I couldn’t hold onto it alone, so others held it for me. I didn’t know how I was going to survive but if there was any possibility of doing so, I knew I would need faith to make it happen. Just as the seeds I planted needed sunshine, water and time to grow, so does my grieving heart. Just like growing flowers, healing is slow but steady. Just like the seeds I planted in my garden were created to grow and can endure most weather, they needed a little effort and time to show me how beautiful they could be.
As the end of year 3 since Caleb died draws near, I’m still hurting and holding onto faith. I know, see and feel that God is working my grief out for good, and I am healing. It’s a long, slow, painful and dreadful process, but with one breath, one step, one hope, one thing at a time, it’s becoming easier to see the beauty in the ashes. Look at what a little seed can do.