It has been a while since I wrote here. I have had to move my aunt to a nursing home, which took six months of work with lawyers, bankers, doctors, church members and social workers. She is now situated and I have had to take a deep look at aging and how we insist on people relating to their daily life in acceptable forms. My aunt is now safe to live in her version of reality, which includes a lot of stories that are not factually true, but nevertheless true to her. The nurses are encouraging me to let her stay there. I'm struggling with whether it is my duty to set her strait, bring her into the accepted truths of reality, or leave her there and simply agree when she tells me of her brothers tragic death, that her car is stolen and that she's going home in two weeks. I know perfectly well that her brother died of old age, it was her son that died tragically, her car was taken away when she drove on the wrong side of the street and that she'll never see her lovely home again. The nurses tell me to relax. They call it "Join her journey". I think it is a beautiful way of understanding that we all see the world through our own chosen color of lenses.
So I go to my garden for solace. I plan for a lovely display of flowers this summer, especially for the garden party in June. I find my old friends as they awake from their slumber, and I speak to the roses who all need a little trim. Dan looks out the window and sees me walking among my green family knowing that I'm happy. He understands when I go to the garden centers and come back inspired and dreamy eyed talking about the just discovered old fashioned dusty pink roses, trimmed to small trees, that would look fantastic on the deck, and complete the Old English Garden look I'm trying to accomplish.
I speak to the plants and I hear their answer. While moving the Mogu Pine from the line of deciduous bushes to it's own corner of the lawn, I hear him comment about the old biddies he's leaving. The Dogwood and the Forsythia are such fussy ladies, he's truly grateful to be in his own space. Especially since I'm putting in a Spirea as an addition to the group. He can just hear her join in with the others talking about the lacy project of creating the most attractive blooms on their branches. I wanted to call him Nicolas in honor of being a pillowy version of a Christmas tree. He would have none of it. His name is Ansgar, of old viking traditions. I bend my head and honor this very conscious plant who is gracing my garden.
Can I talk about this as part of my conscious reality? Can I say that I can actually hear the plants? When I weed around them, there is a different sound from the nasty Ground Ivy when I pull it out, then if I inadvertently catch the long line of a Periwinkle, which I truly want to keep. The Periwinkle will give me a high pitched eeek, while the Ground Ivy will hardly have a sound at all while accepting it's fate of being thrown in the garbage. I can feel it in my fingers as I work. The eeek will make me stop before I pull the roots out and make me gently put the long branch back while I apologize.
Dan says that I have green fingers. I say I have developed a relationship with my green friends. My daughter thinks I'm cute and eccentric. Who is following my journey?
The garden party among the greens this summer needs to be romantic. Dan and I are getting married. After four years of living together, after our combined six children and six grand kids have gotten used to the idea, we are deciding that it's time. The plans are coming along. My lovely daughter is my wedding consultants and introduces herself as the "daughter of the bride".
We have agreed to mention the wedding in Canaan during the ceremony. We don't have to say exactly who got married. And it will be up to the daughter of the bride this time to check that we have enough wine, and to send her six foot tall brother to the liquor store to get more if needed. The miracle this time is the event itself. This will also be a reunion of family from as far west as Hawaii to as far east and north as Norway, all to join our celebration in Chicago.