Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Crocus in a Hidden Garden

This past fall, I purchased bulbs to plant - in anticipation of a fine spring display - at our new home. In my arsenal were multiple bags of tulips, daffodils and crocus bulbs.

Fall came and went, and I still have those unopened bags of bulbs neatly stored on my garage shelf. Throughout the winter I have walked daily past the bags and mourned this lost opportunity.

A few days ago, Louisa went hunting for signs of spring. As she hunted she found leaves beginning to bud and rosebushes losing their brown in favor of a green glow. She found an early-blooming daffodil - one among a clump that found more sunlight than the flowers surrounding it. Louisa relished in these details and would run to the open window where I was inside washing dishes to recount her discoveries.

Louisa, so proud of her discoveries.

Then it was quiet. Too quiet. And as a protective mom of an energetic 6-year old, I ran out to find Louisa - to ensure she was safe and happy.

I rounded the corner and saw her - eyes fixed on a small, lone purple bloom. I said, "Louisa, have you found a sign of Spring?" She replied, "Mom. This is more than a sign of spring; this is a sign from heaven!"


In October of 1998, at the memorial service for our daughter Eliza, my brother Jess carefully packaged crocus bulbs to give to those who attended her Farewell Service. Jess, in his perceptive sensitivity, hoped that each grouping of flowers would then be carefully placed and planted in gardens. That each year, when the flowers emerged from the seemingly dormant ground, we would remember the promise of an eternal spring - even a rebirth and reunion with precious family members.

After the Farewell and burial, Steve and I returned to Chicago, with memories and hope for a brighter future to sustain us through a dark winter.

Before that winter hit, together, we found a place of peace - a hidden garden with rich soil - within the Morton Arboretum where we planted our small packet of sweet flowers.


During our season of mourning, I received a gift from a dear friend, Heidi. A book she knew that I would not have the opportunity to read to Eliza, yet a gift that nonetheless gave me comfort as I read it. I found solace in reading this story aloud, just as I would have done were my daughter still in my arms.

This book starts, "Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away." The mother bunny tells her little bunny that if he runs away, she will run after him and find him. He imagines running away and disguising himself in all sorts of landscapes, including inside a crocus in a garden. No matter how imaginative his hiding place, his mother always finds him.

As I read, this line from the book spoke to my heart: “If you become a crocus in a hidden garden,” said his mother, “I will be a gardener. And I will find you.” (from The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown)


Crocus blooms remind our family that there will be a time when we will all be together again. And amazingly, though this fall I failed to plant the layers of blossoms planned, God found a way to speak to the heart of a little girl searching for signs of spring - even an Eternal Spring.


Much of our sadness regarding Eliza has turned to sweetness as years have passed. But for those of you for whose hearts are hurting currently, we share this quote:

"Parents who have surrendered the sweetest and smallest flowers from the family's garden need to remember our loving Heavenly Father. He has promised a special reward to those who now suffer in silence, who spend long days and longer nights through their trying times of bereavement. Our Creator has promised glory. He said, "For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand." (D&C 58:4)

"That promised glory includes the blessing of reunion with each little child who has left the family circle early to help surviving members of the family to draw nearer to God. Those little children still live and are a heritage of the Lord."

From "The Gateway We Call Death" by Russell M. Nelson


allred family said...

Just posted a comment, but it may have gone missing. . . hmm. . .

Sunshine Promises said...

Oh Emi,
I am so glad you sent this link to me. I LOVE your post/writing! I am sitting here in our San Diego hotel room crying as I read Elder Nelson's quote. I so needed that today! While we are having a fabulous time together, Bennett's absence is obvious. It is our first big family event (minus his funeral/burial) without him and we are all still adjusting to our "new reality." Sounds like you know what that's like.

I look forward to meeting you in Park City (I'm actually speaking at the Conference on Grief and Loss). There is nothing like talking with other parents that have lost a child before. They just "get it". And I appreciate hearing the perspectives that like-minded mothers have to share.

Nice to meet you, my new friend -

Alli grins said...

Beautiful post, Emi. I love your quotes from Elder Nelson and from D & C 58:4. Thank you for being so good to me during our loss and for lifting me up! That seems so long ago to me now, yet when I talk to someone who's lost a baby, that hurt comes right back to me. I too, feel like I can see the sweetness in the lessons learned and the hope in knowing we'll all be together again someday:)

♥Love to you & your cute family...

Cath said...

Emi - this is such a beautiful post. We have a family around the corner from us who just lost their daughter at 36 weeks gestation. I would love to share your blog with them, if that's alright. And this quote is so tender. Thank you.

Ginger said...

I was just referred to your blog by a friend. I'm so grateful to have read this post. Thank you. I'm in the mist my own reality right now and living hour by hour and finding it hard to breathe at times because of my loss less then a week ago. Thank you. I think that I'll spend some time outside tomorrow and plant something

Esther Benn said...

I found your blog by accident while I was searching somthing about your mother for YW in my ward. I was reading this on your blog. I was really touched by your thoughts and feelings you've been sharing about loosing your daughter. We've experienced something familiar in Nov. 2009 when my beloved niece passed away. Thank your for sharing these touching and uplifting thoughts and feelings!! I really enjoy reading your blog and about holding up high the wonderful role as a mother!! It's inspiring to me although, I am not having my own family yet. I believe we all can be mothers in being a good influence in the world. So thank you for sharing this online!
Many greetings from Germany!