11 years ago, we were cleaning out my Grandmothers little apartment right after she had passed away. Her death had been long and sad and heartbreaking.
While packing boxes I heard someone made a comment about hoping the new tenant enjoyed her rose bush and I immediately felt sadness. It felt like I was leaving a piece of her behind. She loved that rose bush and in the last few years of her life, she couldn't get out much, but she'd always ask me if it was blooming when I came to visit. Other times if I saw that it was, I'd pick one for her and she'd smile and bury her nose in it.
I couldn't just LEAVE it there. What if the new tenants didn't like roses? What if they let it die? What if they ripped it out and threw it away???
So, my auntie, my husband and I, armed with shovels and an axe, took on the monster rose bush. She cut it back, Danny dug and dug and dug it out, cutting it loose from its carrot and garden hose thick roots. We plopped it in a hole in our yard, covered it up and then went our separate ways to go clean up our scratches caused by mutated thorns.
"I'm not sure if it will live or not. We weren't very nice to it!" said my auntie. "But with some TLC, it just might."
I watched that bush go through shock, until I was certain I was looking at dead sticks in the ground. Until the teeniest tiniest of leaves poked out. Today, its a monster again. And it makes me smile.
The first time I saw it bloom I was shocked. And thrilled. And sad. and excited.
Every spring since then, I watch for the first blooms, and a little tiny lady comes into my mind. A lady who cussed like a sailor, called me Princess, who could name and recite any verse in the bible at any given time, who wouldn't DREAM of having Christmas eve dinner without Peanut Butter fudge, who sang Happy Birthday to me over the phone EVER year, and a lady who could never EVER get my children's name correct, (Jacob was called Joseph and Baby Tristen was little Christan.) but I never ever doubted her love for them. It was HIGHLY irritating as a new mom, but its one of my favorite memories of her now, and it always makes me smile.