Hello Fellow Readers, From time to time over the years, I’ve shared stories of dear Mom who gave me my garden start, and many of you have kindly asked about her. Emma Stone joined the angels last Sunday, and while there’s sadness, there’s a relief that her difficult final chapter of dementia has come to an end. I am grateful to have been by her side.
“I’m proud of you, dear Momma… how brave you have been. Now it’s time to go home.”
I’ll cherish the memories of working with Mom as a teen at a garden center in Pennsylvania and visiting the nursery where she worked in Florida. The job she loved the most was watering. I can see her now hauling the hose diligently, seeing that each plant was properly deep root watered so they would have their best start wherever they were planted, just as she did for her five children.
When predictions came for a heavy Florida freeze, Mom would protect the cherished rubber trees along the back border by covering them with sheets. They were as tall as the house; a deep freeze would cause drastic dieback. Or worse – portions would dieback and take years to recover. I think she felt the pain of the plants, and we share that in common.
In the later years of Mom and Dad’s thirty years in Florida, part of my visits were full-bore attacks of weeding and pruning their gardens; Mom stood by my side on sweeper detail. Several potted plants she had placed rooted themselves through the pots and were impossible to transplant. But they adapted just fine, funny how that happens, just as with you and me. We do the best we can with what we have to work with.
We came across two poems. Mom flagged in a book as we prepared the celebration of her life. One is familiar, though the author is uncertain*. It starts with “Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there. I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glint in the snow.” The other, by Nancy Wood, ends with, “Perhaps I shall be the rain to open the earth so that your seed may fall. Perhaps I shall be the snow to let your blossoms sleep so that you may bloom in spring. Perhaps I shall be the stream to play a song on the rock so that you are not alone. Perhaps I shall be a new mountain so that you always have a home.” We read the poems as she was placed in her final resting spot not far from the dairy farm in upstate New York, where she grew up.
Friends and family asked if they could send flowers for the celebration of her life, but Mom preferred “plants with roots,” she would say; not a fan of cut flowers or cut Christmas trees for that matter. We had B&B (balled and burlap) Christmas trees growing up so they could be planted. We’d watch them grow and never forget the glorious role they once served. Garden Dilemmas? Askmarystone@gmail.com
This picture of Mom was taken on her 80th birthday holding shiny balloons bought on my way from the airport. I shared with the ladies in the grocery floral section it was Mom’s special day. They adored dear Emma as one of her joys was visiting stores and chatting with folks to lift their spirits, visiting garden centers and bookstores her favorite. Mom was 88; the number 8 – a continuous circle. Infinity. Indeed, her spirit will live in our love forever.
*An article saying the original poem was never copyrighted, but “almost certainly” written by Mary E. Frye. Also confirmed in 1998, per the venerable Times (London), while others are uncertain.
Lovely, Mary. Thank you for sharing.
Lovely, Mary. Thank you for sharing.
A beautiful tribute. I can always relate to women who garden. Your mom sounds a lot like you and I’m sure she was proud to see her daughters creativity and respect for life.
This tribute is beautiful, Mary!
Love you, Mom J.
Beautifully written! I didn’t know your mom was a gardener too – so wonderful she gave that to you! 🙂