First off, an apology to those who thought that those are my glads in the photo in the post below. I never got around to taking a photo of mine, so put up one I had in my files. I was tired when I did the post last night and forgot to add that little disclaimer. Sorry. But my flowers were just as nice. Sigh.
Secondly, that’s my dad in the above photo. This is the last ever photo taken of him, on the day when I last saw him, seven years ago this week. Ironically, we were all gathered that day for the funeral of an uncle. Little did I know that on the same date the next month I’d be helping to make arrangements for Dad’s funeral, the day after he died.
But in reality I think I did know, and just chose not to acknowedge it. Well, I wouldn’t have predicted the date, but I sensed that time with Dad was getting short. He looked as well as he ever had that day, and certainly belied his age, as he always had. His birth certificate might have said that he was eighty-six, but he had never “acted his age.” At that point in his life he was still farming, with a sizeable cattle herd and no hired help. Which was why I refused to acknowledge what I heard and sensed that day. But somehow he knew, and prepared me as much as he could for what was to come. Without actually saying the words, he said goodbye to me when we had a long, meaningful chat after the funeral, before going our separate ways. Everything that should have been said was said, by both of us, and that has been a great comfort to me since he died. The chat came after one of the strongest premonitions I have ever felt in my life. We were standing at the graveside, and my generation was a bit back from the older relatives. Right after the final prayer I glanced up and Dad turned and looked at me. It was like an electric shock went through my body and I had the sudden urge to fly over and push him away from the open grave, as he was standing far too close. It was so strong that I had to grab onto Richard’s arm to keep me rooted to the spot. So, yes, a part of me knew, I guess. Which is not to say that it wasn’t still an enormous shock when I got the phone call a month later, but deep down I had begun to prepare myself for that horrible news. Of course I remember the phone call, funeral, etc. but the date of the last time I saw him is much more significant to me, and that’s how it should be. That wasn’t my dad lying in that coffin, and then being lowered into the ground. That was just a shell of what had been. What I choose to remember as my final image of my lovely dad is his cheery wave and big smile as we parted ways after that last wonderful chat. And what a fantastic image that is.
Anyway, back to the point of this post today. I’d have felt angry and violated because of the flower thief anyway, but it’s especially infuriating and hurtful because the flower bed they raided is my “memories of my childhood and Dad” space. All of the perennials either came from pieces of Dad’s plants, or are exactly the same as what was growing at the farm in my growing up years. The three roses in that bed are Dad’s favourites, and this year I finally managed to find all of the bedding plants that I wanted to complete the picture. The glads were the final embellishment on the cake. To add insult to injury, the thief timed his or her raid to coincide with the anniversary of when I last saw Dad. If they hadn’t been scared off the first time, they’d have hit the exact day, but yesterday was close enough. For whatever reason, this seventh anniversary was much harder than the past few have been, so I really didn’t need the thief to make things worse. It also upset me more than it might have at another time because of the effort I put into that flower bed this year. Gardening work doesn’t seem like work under normal circumstances as I love it so much, but it has seemed like real work this year because of the constant battle with the fatigue this summer. The end result was worth the effort, though, and the pleasure I feel while sitting on the deck, gazing at that flower bed is indescribable. Or it was.
Oh don’t worry, I do have the whole thing in the right perspective, and it’s not an end of the world thing at all. But I think I’m entitled to a bit of venting, under the circumstances. It has just been one of those weeks, you know.