Her cows or "mmmms" were up close, munching contentedly on grass and looking at me as if I'd invaded their territory. I cannot look at them without seeing her sweet wonder at these animals. Her dedicated observation of them was tireless. How I loved to see her precious upturned face with lips pursed together in a mmmm sound as her chubby little fingers pointed them out to me as if maybe I didn't see them. The memory, though painful, is priceless and I thank my God for the presevation of every such memory of her.
The sky was beautiful, and doubly so as it refelected off the water. I was struck by the fact that there was once a time, not so long ago, that the evening sky was something that I took for granted. Now, this is the time of day when she feels closest to me and it is because of that beautiful sky and the colors that so remind me of her.
After years of failed attempts at starting a patch of wildflowers, Jamee has finally succeeded. Undoubtedly, Miss Laynee would be driving her sister crazy with picking all of the flowers.
Her swing still hangs from our swing set, a reminder of a little girl who loved and laughed nearly every single moment of her too short life. I should take the swing down, I know I should. But not yet.
And Laynee's garden? There simply are no words. I am pleasantly surprised by how all of plants are thriving. It will be no time at all and her garden will be completely filled with brightly colored flowers. There is still work to be done, the border for the walkways in the garden need to be replaced with a more suitable border stone than what is currently there. I plan to hire someone to do this in the fall. The spaces between the pavers need to be filled with dirt so that we can plant a ground cover. Some of the plants are planted too close together to accomodate for their rapid growth. This is simply a matter of moving them to a different spot once they are finished blooming.
When we had the idea to put a garden where the pool was, I admit that, at the time, it was mostly a way to fill the space left by the pool. I had no way of knowing the deep sense of comfort and peace her garden would bring to me. It is here that I feel closest to my sweet little girl. It hurts, but I have learned that there are different types of hurts. There are good hurts and bad hurts. The feeling that comes to me in her garden is, in a sense, hurtful but, at the same time, peaceful and appropriate. It is the hurt of grief and somehow, I suppose, that there is healing in the hurting. Every item in her garden is meaningful. I know from whom each plant was given and I know that every plant is a legacy of the love that she showed to all who knew her. It is impossible to be in her garden without the awareness that this is the place where Laynee left us. At the same time, I stand in awe of the knowledge, that it is here, in this very spot, that my daughter saw her Jesus for the first time. It is because of this that her garden feels sacred.
The pictures (especially taken in the eveing) cannot begin to do justice to the beauty of her garden.
They cannot capture the love and peace and hope that is there.
The bench below, which was donated by my siblings,
sits beneath a weeping cherry tree that was
donated to us by the girl's cross country teams
via gift card.
Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again--my Savior and my God!
Psalm 43:5 (NLT)