The memory garden


Today marks 14 months.  It is ironic in a way that you mark the passing of a loved one as you would the raising of a baby.  Often in the first few years, everything is measured in weeks and months.  Soon it will be measured in months and years, and finally just years.  Like on the past 3rd’s of every month, we have blueberry muffins.  It doesn’t matter where we are—we always make sure to have blueberry muffins on the 3rd.  Sometimes they are healthy, sometimes they are not, but they have blueberries all the time.   This is one of the many memories that we have of our sweet daughter though it is not the only one.

Memories that last a lifetime are often imbued with emotions.  The association with a time, place, or event is remembered better when you felt something at the time of the memory.  In my experience that can be any emotion, whether good or bad.  Often times when I think about Kyanna the emotion that I feel is loss and pain.  I remember things that I don’t want to, things about the way she was—though she was none of those things.  I remember the horror in her face as her lips turned blue and she struggled to breathe.  I remember forcing myself to watch as she got worse and worse because I couldn’t do anything else but watch and be there.  I remember holding her as she took her last breath.

Spring is a time of renewal.  It is when new life can start.  It is the season to plant something.  I look at my memories and see them as a garden in mid-summer.  Mixed with the things that I wanted to plant, there are weeds everywhere.  The weeds are the memories that I don’t want.  They are the ones that are overcrowding the memories that I am trying to find, the ones that seem to be lost, but they are not.  Unlike a garden where you can pull out the weeds, you can’t weed out memories.  They are always there.  To get rid of the bad is to also get rid of the good, and to do that is to forget.  So instead I can, at times, sift through the weeds and see the flowers that Kyanna planted for me.  These are the memories I want to hold on to.  Memories like her first time at the sea, or the time that she gave me all kinds of kisses for no apparent reason as we walked across the parking garage to go to her treatments in Spain.  I want to remember her constant talking, though sometimes I thought it was a bit much.  I remember her giggles and laughter and the way she could make me laugh, and I remember her cuddles.  Those memories are the flowers I want to see, though often they are lost amongst the weeds.   Hiding under the pain and the loss.

I would like to say that I am good at finding flowers in my garden of memories, but the truth is I am not.  Maybe in time I will be.  For the limited things I know of plants, I do know the ones that you feed will grow more than the ones you don’t.   But no matter how much care you give your flowers there will always be a weed or two that crop up, which I guess is the cost of keeping the flower.  If that is the case then so be it, I think the flowers are worth it.


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