I Believe in Signs

My mother in law loved to garden.

When she was well her garden thrived and was just so beautiful.

I remember commenting about how lovely her garden was and how I could never have a beautiful garden like hers.

The next Christmas I got a book. The Encyclopedia of Gardening or something like that. That book still sits on my shelf and from time to time I thumb through it, pondering the garden I will never have.

It’s not that I don’t want a garden, it’s just the fact that no matter how hard I try I can never keep one alive. Add to that the toll it takes on my body being outside digging, pulling, and lugging and it’s just not worth it.

But I did love her garden.

All too soon she became ill and her garden was a distant memory.

We all tried to help out, but it was just no use. Weeds were choking it out and slowly killing that garden that she loved so much. Much like her liver was slowly killing her.

Three years ago on Saturday she passed away after years of fighting for her life. A new liver was found, but not before her body was too weak and sick to accept it.

For years the guilt has riddled me because of the plea I made the day that she went into the hospital to never return.

You see, I was helping to take care of her. I was splitting my time between my house and hers during the day to make sure she ate, took her medicine, got to the bathroom, and any other things that needed to be done while my father in law was at work.

I wasn’t forced to do it. I happily helped because I loved my mother in law so very much.

The day that they got the call about the liver being available for her I was exhausted. My mind and spirit were spent and I lay down on the floor in my bedroom and I wept. I cried out to God to do whatever He must but I just couldn’t go on like this any longer.

I was too tired. The burden seemed too much.

When we got the call that they were on their way to the hospital I rejoiced as I thought my prayers had been answered. Only to have my heart feel like it was crashing onto the floor when we later got the call that the liver wouldn’t help.

I never told anyone that I blamed myself for her passing. But it was there. A big ugly elephant in the room whenever I would go over to her house.

She was never there, but the guilt always was.

Last year my father in law had work done in the backyard. He wanted to make it something of beauty that my mother in law would have been proud of. Something like she would have done.

The garden had to be removed so that it could be restored. The landscapers tried to save what they could and replant, but to no avail as it all perished.

This past Sunday we got together to celebrate her life and spread her ashes in her garden with the hopes that someday it will look like it once did, for her.

My father in law doesn’t know how it survived, as he is sure that the landscapers had dug everything up and it hasn’t bloomed in years.

It is one of the last clematis that she bought, I remember her showing it to me as it started to bloom. She loved that flowering vine and I know she wants us to know that everything is okay.


This post is part of You Capture; Signs

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  1. I think you've interpreted that sign perfectly. 🙂

    And please, no guilt. I know, easier said than done…

  2. My heart is in my throat, what a lovely tribute.

    I don't know you, but you shouldn't blame yourself. My mom took care of my grandparents for years and they both suffered from dementia. It is exhausting. Most everyone would feel the same way you did.

  3. Beautiful!

  4. I have goose bums all over my arms. I understand your guilt, my mother-in-law died in December after a long battle with cancer.

  5. I too believe in signs…and this one is beautiful.

  6. That is a beautiful sign.

    I hope the guilt is gone now. I do know how you feel. I was my mother's caregiver and she passed when I felt like I could take no more. I knew in my heart it wasn't because of me she passed, it was her time.

    It was just your MIL's time to be relieved of the pains of this world.

  7. This one… this one got to me. You brought tears.

  8. Those signs make everything feel okay, don't they? It's beautiful.

  9. That's a beautiful story. Thanks so much for sharing it.

    (And I can't garden, either. I think I'd have an easier time with quantum physics.)

  10. Oh my goodness, this is beautiful.

  11. My aunt lost her 10 month battle to cancer in june and one of her sister's trees is loaded with apples. My aunt was always gonna do something with the apples yet they never yielded like this year.

    Great sign post!

  12. I believe in signs too.

    Seems as though this one is begging you to replace the guilt with the beauty of her memory …?

  13. That? Was beautiful. She would be way proud of you for finding her sign (and knowing exactly what it was).

  14. Oh I love clematis, I have one, too. Beautiful. Your sweet heart.