Author’s note: This article originally was written in 2012 shortly after my mother was put in hospice care. After six years of loving care, my mom recently passed away. This post is in memory of her.
A few weeks ago my three children and I planted a vegetable and herb garden in our backyard. Actually, it’s a pizza garden. You know, with tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic, and some Italian-ish herbs. (If only we could figure out how to grow peperoni … ) The hope is that we’d get the kids to get outside and do something connected with nature while subtly encouraging them to eat things that grow out of the ground. It may be a pipe dream but, hey, I’m a dreamer.
So far, we’ve met with some success. The garden is growing well and our tomato plants are already producing blooms. The kids enjoy watching the growth of the plants and check on them regularly wondering if they should water them just a little more. Every new leaf or bug-eaten stem is noted and fawned over. Our gardening role has evolved into three overlapping roles: eager observers, cheerleaders, and nurturers.
It seems like our plants are caught between two worlds — the above-ground world and the underground world, and we’re cheering for them to burst forth into this world with a bountiful harvest! That thought made me think of my mom. (Of course, right now most things make me think of my mom.) About a week before we planted the garden, my mom’s health had a sharp decline. So sharp that we thought she wouldn’t make it through the weekend.
I’m grateful she’s still with us, but we all know that it’s only a short reprieve. We know that our time with Mom is getting short, we just don’t know how short. After a decades-long battle with Alzheimer’s, my mom, much like my garden, seems to have one foot in each world. At times, she’s with us and communicating in her own way, other times she talks about loved ones that have left us long ago as if they were still alive.
Perhaps the watching, waiting, nurturing and cheering that we’ve been doing with our garden is the same thing that goes on in heaven when one of us is near the end of our physical life. I can just imagine Jesus, Mary and all the saints and angels giving God reports about our progress and getting so excited about our arrival and “harvest” in paradise. Every step Mom takes away from us in this life is a step she takes closer to harvest in God’s heavenly garden. And what a harvest it will be!
As hard as it is to see Mom leaving us a step at a time, I know that she’s stepping toward something. And with each steps she takes, exclamations of “She’s coming! She’s coming!” are being shouted throughout heaven.
Copyright 2018 Laura B Nelson