I titled this blog "As grows the garden, so goes my life" because that's how it is. You can usually tell the state of my being by looking at the state of my garden.
Today we are into our third month of record high temperatures and drought here in Austin. When 104-107 is all I ever see on my iphone ten day weather forecast, it does not inspire me to get out there and weed, plant or hang out. Everything we have is dying. I water on our two allotted days per week, but even the hardy, drought resistant, Texas native perennials are withering in the relentless sun and heat. It feels barren and sad out there.
It is sad in here too. Two days ago my father passed away. I pride myself on being strong and resilient but today I am withering on the vine. I feel parched and need water, but the rain doesn't come. Just tears...tears...and more tears.
I am grateful that he has been released from a body that no longer served him. The distress I have been carrying for what he and my mom were going through is leaving me. When I think of him now I don't have to think of his pain; I think of his love, his humor and the bounty of gifts that he gave me every single day.
But it still hurts like hell. Daughters have a special bond with their "daddy". No matter where I was traipsing around this planet I always felt his love and support and knew that he had my back if I needed him. We had a ritual - I would call him before getting on the plane on the first leg of any journey I took. He was my lucky charm and I felt safe as I boarded my flight. It never was luck I needed, just love. Love is boundless and borderless and it doesn't require a phone to connect to it. He gave me more than enough to last my lifetime.
I know that this is a journey and we are only passing through, with sacred occasions to mark the passages - first love, marriage, the birth of a child, the birth of a grandchild (a great gift this year) - but losing a parent is compelling me to reflect on my life in fast forward and technicolor. It is all rushing before my eyes and filling me with sweet and bitter memories, and I am raw with the awareness that time does run out. I have been at a crossroads this year, feeling my way towards my future. It is time to forge a new beginning and honor my father by being my own lucky charm.
Soon the temperatures will drop, some rain will fall and I will find my usual comfort, trekking through our overgrown yard and trying to whisper some life back into our stressed out garden. I am sure that when the clay pots are full of fresh herbs, the ruellia and lantana are flowering and my blue gardening boots are caked with fresh dirt, I too will begin to flourish again.
Because as grows the garden, so goes my life....
John Landreth Albert
October 31, 1918 - August 18, 2011
Send us some rain Daddy! My father's obituary