“According to the Oriental language of flowers, perennial Candytuft was a symbol of indifference.” -The Language of Flowers
I walked over to her house, today. I finally dug up some of the Candytuft she’d always urged me to take. I took it because I miss her. I took it because I’m sorry.
This past August, we said goodbye, for now, to our Mawmaw Medlin. Although she wasn’t my own grandmother, I never felt less than a cherished part of her descendants. Her absence is a wind. A reminder to love and not take for granted the souls we’ve been entrusted to nurture during this mist of time we are given.
Mawmaw loved to grow things. I don’t believe a day went by that I didn’t see her in the yard or garden. Her straw hat atop her white head. She told me that growing things made her feel closer to God. That she was sharing in His creation. In the spring and early summer, when it came time to sow, we often discussed how anyone could doubt the existence of a Creator if they just watched a tiny seed grow into a thriving plant. I’ve always loved to grow things, also. This was our shared love. She wanted so much to share her wisdom with me, but I didn’t always want it. When I had a question or needed help, I would go to her, but most of the time, I was too busy. Too busy with my job, with my family, with my friends. I didn’t make the time to sit under her shade and allow her to impart her knowledge. Allow her to give her love.
I don’t know why I never dug up the plant before. Never accepted her invitation. Never recognized it for what it truly was.
I pushed the dead leaves and faded mulch aside. Dug into the rich dark soil with my trowel. Gently, not wanting to damage the roots. I couldn’t help but wonder what secrets that earth held. How many suns had sunk into its depths. How many times her hands had reached down into it. How the cool dampness felt under her fingertips. Did she breathe it in, like I do? Did she relish in its sweet smell? I slowly lifted the green shiny leaves and shallow roots from the ground and covered the small void left behind.
I knew where I wanted the Candytuft to go. Every spring, when blooms spattered the ground and floated in the trees, she always would walk the yard with me. “Some Candytuft would go good right there. It likes the sun. You can come get some, if you want.” So I planted it right there. In our front flower bed. It’s the first green you would meet as you walk up our sidewalk. The pine needles cradling the plant like a nest. Holding the soon to bloom flowers until they are ready to burst forth this spring. New life. A piece of our Mawmaw, an offering of her love. A reminder to be grateful and to take time. Because we’re just a passing shadow.