This was provided to Share by Sarah Kate Philpot.
For the first month after my son Lucas was born still, I was hesitant to feed myself anything yummy, dive into anything pleasurable, or entertain any bit of hedonism because, “he was gone and could not enjoy life so why should I get to enjoy anything either!?” It was winter, and as spring emerged, I told my mother that I hated every leaf and blade of grass that popped out because it felt that the seasons would carry me even further away from my baby and his time. She said very wisely, “Do not misinterpret this, but really each season carries you closer to him.” Oh, I thought, okay, I can live with that line of thought. Only about 280 seasons left if I live to be a hundred, then I can see my boy again! So I found a quote that said, “you can bury a lot of troubles playing in the dirt” (the author unknown to me).
I called my grandparents and set up some times to go work in their expansive garden. I raked, dug up yards of monkey grass, transferred dirt, trimmed branches, and hauled gravel until some of my angst and baby weight left. It felt so good to sweat and get sunshine that I found myself humming and talking to birds, and then I'd quit humming, thinking “I'm not supposed to be enjoying this, I'm supposed to be working! Hurting. Grieving.” No, that wasn't right either. If my little boy had been there, he would have laughed at his mom every time she hit her head on the same branch that kept undoing her pony tail. He would have seen the bright red cardinal with large eyes of wonder. He would have smiled and hummed with the sunshine bouncing off the ripples in the pond. It was okay to enjoy this. We built a garden for him at our house too, which is not an uncommon thing to do for those who miss loved ones and need a place of tranquility. Many plants later, as I watch their progress, I note my own too. I am by far not comfortable, at peace, nor have I even approached the acceptance phase, but these days are starkly brighter than last year at this time.
I also found that projects kept me going. I developed a plan to ensure that his 1 year “angelversary” would not go unnoticed. I did not send thank you notes for flowers, or other gifts, I just could not find the words, focus, or emotional strength to say thank you to people during that time, but I did keep track of them. Later that first year, I found these little garden watering cans at a craft shop. I filled them with crocus bulbs, and seed packets. Before we mailed them, my stellar husband helped create a little card that included Luke's picture, directions for planting, and the long intended thank you. I'm just going to dedicate January 5th as a day of service to honor him and to make our community safer, smarter, and healthier. “For it is in giving, that we truly receive.” (author unknown)