It was just a simple garden angel, but I knew it would mean so much to my best friend; something beyond the flowers, card and other sentiments we had expressed when her mother Lydia Weber died. This would be lasting and a reminder of so many things when one looked at it. It went without saying that we all thought Grandma Weber was an angel, and her cherub like face and nervous giggle were two endearing qualities everyone associated with her when first they encountered this gentle and unassuming woman. As my children grew up they would carry flowers to her house knowing the reward would be cookies, hugs and “giggles”. Lydia had made it to her 90’s and her daughter Darlene said when she found her that morning in her bed, she was smiling as though she had just seen the most wonderful sight. I said I imagined she had seen her husband Carl returning to take her with him so they would never be separated again.
Flowers were something everyone associated with Grandma Weber who was “claimed” by the entire neighborhood. In a neighborhood with all parents working, Lydia filled the void of “old fashioned, traditional, grand parenting.” If you were sad or down, cookies; if you were happy and up, cake. If you were just plain showing up at the door, one, then the other. Food fixed everything, and indeed, the way she cooked, it did
.Thus the continual flow of flowers from all the neighbors, and the constant acknowledgement of how beautiful her dozens of lilac bushes were (even though it was one of the things that triggered my allergies the worst.) But of all the flowers, it was roses she loved best and that is what made this story so poignant, and the note I received from her daughter Darlene just today. Years after Grandma Weber passed on.
Finally got prints made of the pictures I took of the rosebushes that grew after I put the angel you gave us outside with them. As I told you, I wouldn’t allow it to be put outside when you gave it to me for fear it would be damaged. I know, it was a garden angel for the outdoors, but it was so precious to me I didn’t want to risk it. As you know, Mom loved her roses and we planted some in the front of the house on either side of the front door while she was living. You remember how she loved them and had them in her room in a bouquet whenever possible. However, when mom died, so did the roses. Nothing could save them, and nothing made them bloom ever again. Last year Jim decided to bring some rose bushes from our back yard to the front and “try again” with roses where mom’s had been. Nothing happen, and not one bloom. We were just about to give up and let them die when Jim decided that angel should go outside in the garden to make it look nice since nothing else was there to make the front special. Lo and behold, there was an immediate change in the bushes, and suddenly there were buds, then blossoms. After all these years in that hard clay ground, changing nothing but the addition of your little garden angel, the roses are back.
Now you know Jim and I aren’t sure what to make of this, but after talking to you on the phone, I guess I can admit “Mom’s happy now” and that somehow, the angel needed to be there “where Mom would have thought it belonged.”
Note in the left hand corner, barely visible due to the time/date stamp by the camera, is the little garden angel they sat out by their door.
Y0u can take from this small story what you will, but in Wisconsin, there is a daughter who I believe got a “sign” from her mom, and even the “practical son in law” feels “touched” by it all.
I have written before about “Signs” from my sister, and also my mother in “Mourning Doves, Forever Loves” but you must decide for yourself. As for me, I continually tell everyone that after my death I shall be the whisper in your ear, the irreverent intrusion of the song “Oklahoma,” and the impractical insertion of humor into your day when you least expect it, and you will think of me. When the greyhound runs by you, violets are growing in a pot and you have an unbidden urge to buy them, you look a homeless person in the eye and find yourself smiling when you remember how I loved them, you will have had a sign.
There is a wonderful verse in the Bible that reminds us that “You have not, because ye ask not.” Dare to believe that love is not relegated to the grave, but lives in flourishes of time to revisit those whose lives have touched and whose souls are intertwined forever by the moment.