All day long as I drove along doing my nursery thing, I had a very heavy heart because my dad at 92 is having an operation on his brain to relieve the bleeding caused from a fall in July.
We worked for almost thirty years together at the nursery which sometimes at the time seemed like a mixed blessing yet I always knew was a gift few families get when kids grow up. His ghost is everywhere, and I know that he will never return to the nursery in any capacity, even for a visit due to his inability to drive anymore, and his reduced capabilities... mom’s also.
My heart ached when I thought of him. There’s nothing I can do for him, he is in NC, and the ICU bed has no phone... I can’t even call him. He did not really know I was me two weeks ago when I went to the hospital to see him, but that didn’t stop him from continually talking about his childhood with stories I had never heard before.
I don’t want to tell my mom who has been declining in his absence (about dad’s surgery)... 65 years of marriage, and she still loves him.
I’m afraid if the surgery does not go well, that she will follow him. I’m aware that sometimes happens when the elderly encounter medical issues after spending a life together. The unknown got the best of me today.
The shitty depressing weather today added to the malaise I suffered through, steeling myself for what I felt is going to be the inevitable.
I was tempted to talk to people about what was going through my heart, but I realized this type of thing is better suffered alone. Everyone goes through this sooner or later, and discussing it is a fruitless waste of other people’s time and energy. Everyone has their own silent struggles.
As I toiled at my job, though, I did see occasional breaks in the clouds (figuratively and literally).
Sometimes the sun shone through the darkness illuminating Connecticut’s fall glory. Oranges, greens, reds, yellows, etc. Those brief moments knocked my burden off my back, and I was able to breathe again, thanks to nature’s beauty.
I found positivity in my dad’s situation in the huge birch trees out front that I planted ...40 years ago? They glow with happiness sometimes, and today was one of those sometimes.
The recently repotted left-over shrubs from this year on their way to their overwintering house glowed with appreciation at my attention. Happy plants.
Willow-leafed sunflowers flowering when mums hog center stage caught my eye, and I wanted to bend down and thank them for giving me peace- “thank-you, you beautiful unsung heroes.”
My pond glowed with a serenity uncommon these days, and as I went by I did not take this magnificent body of nature for granted. The ugly dock in the foreground used to hold our pump. I don’t have the heart to remove it. It’s part of my past and shall stay for as long as I work at that beautiful nursery.
As I tussled with my conflicting emotions- declining dad on one shoulder, beautiful plants on the other, I came to a heartfelt realization that solidified the importance of my purpose at that nursery. As obvious as it seems, the plants surrounding me serve a crucial function for me and everyone else too:
Plants make people happy. Plants lift people’s spirits. Plants connect people with themselves, helping to ground emotions and anchor souls.
As obvious as all the above sounds, I never lived this reality until today, and I thank Mother Nature from the bottom of my soul for bringing this conclusion to the fore today.
When I got home, my son and I tried to accomplish something my dog couldn’t. It was windy, and there was no chance in hell that those cheap chinese BBS were going anywhere near that squirrel. I didn’t even point it at it. I can’t kill anything anymore- it’s just not something I can do. Yet it’s fun to shoot BB guns like a kid sometimes.
I hope my dad does ok and pulls through. The battleground of emotions weighing my heart down today was softened by the wonderful bits of Mother Nature surrounding me at the nursery, and these perennials, shrubs and trees are so important in the whole scheme of things in keeping balance in life for me, something very apparent today.
Post script with current events 10/26/20:
My father’s surgery did not end up working out despite the best efforts of UNC Chapel Hill, and he is going to hospice near Wilmington, NC.
The above blog post’s experience prepared me for the coming events, and I will forever appreciate the plants that bring me comfort in these trying times.