Tuesday, 15 April 2014

In the garden

Recently I've been having a "bit of trouble" as Frank Spencer used to say.

The trouble itself isn't the subject of this blog, it's the catalyst. I'm hoping that by writing it down the ameliorating warmth of catharsis will kick in and I'll feel a bit brighter.

There's only one person I want to see at times like these and that is impossible. Death has that way of rendering infinite unavailability to those we love.

Even now, three years after I said goodbye for the last time, she's still the person I think of first in good and bad times.

I was walking and crying on Sunday and more than anything I wanted to be sitting in her company.
In the garden of the little house that she'd been able to buy for us after her divorce.

It was just a rotovated plot then, which she planted with new plants and with a small number of cuttings that she tended carefully from the garden of our old house.

These plants were a connection she had to my brother who had tried to take over the tasks left by our father when he'd left.

Michael's heart condition was gathering pace by then.

It was taking his breath, which should have been being used casually, to chat up girls, but instead was being fought for furiously and secretly just to keep going. His failing heart was weakening by the day but as it was made of integrity he kept going. No one knew for a while, how ill he was.

So these cuttings were more than precious.

I understand gardens as memorials.

They capture both the stillness of loss and the renewal of life through the plants and the seasons which dictate them. Domestic gardens are full of the effort and interest of their owners and it's almost as though they absorb and reflect those attributes with serenity. It's a reciprocal arrangement and research shows the beneficial effects of gardening on mental health.

So that's where I'd like to be.

Yet the sight of a tearful stranger; a woman who you don't recognise, turning up on your doorstep and asking to let her sit in your garden can be overwhelming, so I didn't think I'd try that.

I just walked on.

I suppose it doesn't really matter where I am. The memories of mum still live in my mind that's  the sanctuary I crave really because love isn't a space, a place, a building, or a grave.

Those are just the structures which take you to memory.

As long as I have those she'll be beside me.