Let me explain: Love roots. Love thrives.
My father was a widower when he met my mother. He lost his first wife to cancer. Her name was Viola, and she was the mother of his first three children. He was devoted to her and loved her to his last. He grieved Viola’s memory profoundly and mourned her in every way he knew how while struggling to survive. I know this because during my lifetime I saw him crying many, many times when her memory took hold. Let there be peace in the knowledge of this for all who knew and loved him.
I am certain he thought he could never be in love again when Viola died, but he did fall in love with my mother. He and my mother had a 40-something-year marriage until his death in 2007. I know it was a struggle for many to understand how quickly he married again, but he needed love and companionship. He and my mother were a solid, loving pair who made each other laugh and cry brilliantly to the last, and always his memory will be cherished.
My father was fifty when I was born. I was his last child. He gave my mother a dozen red roses, an armful, after bounding hospital stairs to see me for the first time. He joyfully thanked her in the way he tended their life together for giving him more children, my brother and me: new miracles out of their love.
A rosebush blooms wildly outside the window near my writing nook. It came to mind yesterday in a conversation with my mother about life and death and the small and great things in between. Call me sentimental but seeing those blooms is lifesaving. Writing this is lifesaving. The “Clare” roses, as my family called them, that grew from the cuttings of a bouquet my father gave my mother on the day of my birth in 1968 were tended by my grandmother and grandfather for years, before my husband and I came to live here.
That rosebush is pushing fifty, as am I. I cannot say I have tended it well. I am not a gardener at all. Most of the time, life is “a juggle and struggle” and we are up in the air about things, but if this rose took hold, took root, grounded its greening self so grandly, I like to think that I am somehow like it, or can be. The focus on it over the past two days has revived me and I feel good.
And as this beautiful rosebush and I will both cease, I think of the mystery of our transmutation from what and where we were/are/will be.
This life: gentle and harsh.
This life: care of beloveds, if we are lucky.
This life: a chance in the moment to grow.
This life: a perpetual gift that points to love beyond measure from the Source of All.
I wish you peace and inspiration always.
Clare L. Martin