The Yellow Rose is Blooming
It is October. My garden is spent. The weeds are taking over. But a few days ago, before the weather turned cold and wet, I harvested the last of the tomatoes. Enough for a salad. A very small salad.
It occurred to me then how we sometimes miss seeing the beauty of the flowers for the weeds. Sometimes we focus on the thorns instead of the buds or the fruit.
For the past seven years now, the last week of October has been like that garden for me. My husband died on October 29, 2014.
We had just talked with our middle daughter, Danielle, three days earlier. It was her birthday. It has been my tradition to call my children on their birthdays and recount to them their birth story. That particular birthday in 2014, for the first time in a long time, Tom and I were not on the phone together. I wished Danielle happy birthday and then told her the story about the day she was born. After we spoke, her dad talked with her and told her how proud he was of her. It was their last conversation.
I have continued to call Danielle on her birthday, but that last week of October…actually the entire month has been hard for me. I couldn’t enjoy the flowers. My heart was pierced by the thorns.
This year feels different. I haven’t dreaded the month coming. I haven’t felt sick. (One year I actually suffered from what can only be described as emotional exhaustion.) It has been seven years since Tom walked out that door. Seven years since his accident. It was Danielle who pointed out to me recently that seven years is God’s perfect number.
I looked back at my blog posts for these past seven years. October is laden with the tragedy of Tom’s death. It is time to clear the garden. It is time to enjoy the flowers.
So I am dedicating this post to “My Yellow Rose.”
The Mother’s Day before Danielle was born my father-in-law gave me a yellow rose bush. We planted it by the fence in our back yard. We watched as it grew larger…fuller through the summer…as did my tummy. By mid-October, the rose bush produced a single large bud.
I told my husband, “The day that rose blooms is the day I’m having this baby.”
The baby was due the first week of November, but I held to the notion that the date didn’t matter. I was certain the rose and the baby would arrive at the same time. Tom thought I was being silly. He was rather nonchalant about it. This was, after all, our second child. He read a book on delivering a baby. He was prepared, he assured me, for whenever the baby came.
I woke up on October 26 fully aware of the labor contractions beginning within me. Tom calmly walked to the kitchen to make coffee while I dressed.
“We have time,” he told me.
I made sure our four-year-old daughter, Allison, was ready to go to my parents' house.
I looked out into the living room as Tom walked toward the back window. Suddenly, his coffee cup clattered to the floor.
“Becky, grab your bag!” he shouted. “The yellow rose is blooming.”
I did not say, “I told you so.” No gloating. No rolling of my eyes, even though I had been certain the rose would bloom the day our second child arrived. Our sweet Danielle was born that sunny, October day. Ever since, she has been known to the family as “our yellow rose.”
When Danielle decided to enter the mission field shortly after college, Tom and I looked at each other. Our yellow rose was blooming.
When Danielle married Tim, we smiled. Our yellow rose was blooming.
Danielle is now the mother of four flowers of her own. She is a woman comfortable in her own skin and willing to take on every challenge that comes her way. Our yellow rose continues to bloom.
I have been blessed with three beautiful daughters. Beautiful inside and out. They are constants in my life. They are a reminder that weeds and thorns and pain may come our way, but the flowers are still there. It is important to celebrate them. We all have events that interrupt life and cause us pain. But if we seek them out, those roses are still blooming.