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In The Garden of Grief

Story ID:2388
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Family History
Writers Conference:$500 2007 Family Memories Writing Project
Location:Fort Lee New Jersey USA
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In The Garden of Grief

I walked through the garden. A cool breeze lifted dried leaves and spun them
around my feet. The last of the leaf lettuce were clumps of black and wilted leaves.
A few zucchinis clung to life, but were too small to pick. They’d never reach their peak.
Tomato plants hung limp from their hangers. The potato patch was a barren
wasteland. They’d been dug up and stored weeks ago. The carrots, not big enough to
pull up, would soon follow the tomatoes.
A pumpkin reflected the sunlight. Its orange skin glowed. Behind it, a sunflower,
once strong and tall, drooped close to the ground. Birds fed off the seeds it worked so
hard to produce.
I turned. Dust lifted from my feet. The dry soil, denied of rain, lifted in the air and
floated away. The peas and beans were gone. We’d cooked and put them in jars a few
weeks ago. The plants that remained, struggled to survive.
I was in a garden of death.
A spark of color caught my eye. In the back corner of my garden, a hardy
marigold reached to the sky. It was small, but it was sturdy. Death circled this little
flower. It ignored it. The marigold was not done. It still filled the world with color –
with love.
The garden became my life. I wandered through the dust. In October, 2003, my
flower, my wife, wilted and died. The dust of life lifted from my feet and drifted away
in the breeze.
In the back of the garden, I saw the marigold. Its mate succumbed to the seasons
as mine did. Her mate was gone, but she was strong.
I picked it and held it in my hands. The marigold was Ginny. She became my new
wife and my life.
In the garden of grief, love can bloom again.

Michael T. Smith