It is the season of mums – that glorious coloring of perennial happiness.
Each year, I plant and nurture a variety of chrysanthemums. These are the plants I prune in the spring when everything else yearns to bloom.
When late September and early October creep onto my calendar, these will be the plants that greet me with tiny buds, then fuller blossoms.
Rust, purple, red, yellow mums fill my garden with spots of color. Yet even within the enjoyment, I feel a chill of remembrance.
Mums were the plants loving friends brought when my babies died – Ryan in 1981 and Rachel in 1983.
Such promise those pregnancies brought. After years of infertility, sharing the joys of friends and family who so easily bore children while I waited with empty arms. It was finally my turn.
Waiting, hoping, praying for the lives of my little ones. Yet both of them dying before birth. Each life ending at 12 weeks.
How does a mother reconcile the image of her own womb morphing into a coffin? She cannot. I could not.
Numb, then raw, then screaming out my grief to the God who watched my babies die and did nothing to save them. Was he not supposed to be a Savior?
Why? No answer.
It is within the silence of our griefs that faith best grows.
Faith – the evidence of things not seen. The babies never held yet somehow carried to heaven where I believed with certainty they were safe and loved.
Friends who could give no answers brought mums to plant, to nurture, to prune back and wait until autumn brought them to life.
The hope of this mother that another season might bring another child – a living babe to hold, kiss and sing to.
Again with divine silence came only the belief that somehow God knew a time and way to bring life to my womb.
Just as mums somehow know when it is their time to bloom.
My Caleb – third born yet my only living child – delivered in 1985. Did ever the screams of a newborn sound so sweet?
Still, each year in late September and early October, I seek out another mum plant and gingerly plant it.
Some unresolved grief so desperate I can no longer weep cries out for a tangible reminder of the babes that were taken. I honor my children by planting these mums as my personal cemetery token.
In the spring, I cut them back, then marvel at the first blooms of autumn. And in those orbs of color, I see hope.
Somewhere in heaven wait two children who want to meet me, throw their arms around me and whisper love words we have longed to share all these years.
In the waiting – in the hoping – comes a resolve. To honor each day in the land of the living even while looking forward to the land of promise.
©2017 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved