As I gazed upon the vivid colors of the sunflower blooms, I recalled your laughter in the spring. Do you remember how we laughed while we worked in our gardens filled with the magic of spring? I do. I remember the time it started raining while we dug in the earth with our bare hands. We were so filthy with the soil that turned to mud, but it smelled like the dry earth after a spring shower. What a lovely scent that was. I think we even danced around in the rain that day, laughing as though we did not have a worry in the world. Do you remember dancing with me?
The mosaic artwork on the legs of this chair reminded me of the year we worked so diligently on our patio. We called it our little paradise. We joked that our beautiful wall of stones had our blood, sweat, and tears in its layers. We literally spent every moment we could building a place we could spend our golden years. Do you remember King Arthur, our first hummingbird? I saw him this past June. I think he sensed things were different this summer. The honeybees never came.
The spot that you had marked for the water fountain is still there. Our little puppy girl spent a lot of time lying in that very spot. She would lie in the sun as though she were working on a tan. I buried her on July 26. Did you see how strong I was as I placed the dirt over her lifeless body? I put her pink blanket over the top of her because I could not bear to put dirt on her beautiful fur. I believe she is at peace. Did you happen to see her?
Do you remember how we could not wait for spring just to see all our beautiful plants come to life? We often sat at the patio talking, sometimes just in silence, drinking in all the beauty that nature had to offer. The fairy rosebush that you got for me was covered in blooms last May. I was very careful as I cut the grass behind it. Did you see how big it has grown? The daisies that I loved never bloomed. It was as though they just could not grow. I saw them peeping from the dirt, but it seemed they were lacking the strength to battle life. Do you remember how I loved the bright red one? The different shades of red just called out to me. It was like all the joy and pain of life was just blended together in that red hue.
These blooms I gaze upon remind me of how beautiful our little paradise used to be. It was not so beautiful this past summer. The weeds kept breaking free from the soil and choking out the beautiful blooms of the flowers we had planted together. I struggled to keep all those weeds out, but in the end, they won. There was a day in June that I worked from dawn to dark just pulling those cursed weeds. I put some more tears and sweat into the layers of stone as I worked in the hot sun. The weeds just seemed to mock me. I finally gave up. There was no laughing on that long, hot day. Did you notice me?
The water well that you built still lacks a top. I remember how you had it all scoped out in your mind. You had the holes for the beams all dug, and the plans for the draw bucket on the table. I am considering filling up the holes now. I remember that I had been gone when you built that and it was the first thing I saw as I drove up. What I remember most is the look of pride in your eyes as you watched for my reaction. Did you see the pride in my eyes? It may have been hard to see past all the love I felt for you.
There is no doubt these sunflowers remind me of all the many spring seasons we spent together. It also reminds me of your vegetable garden that you worked so hard on. Do you remember how frustrated you felt when the deer kept eating all your vegetables? Even with all your frustration, you managed to smile when I told you the deer had to eat too. I remember how hard you studied trying to find a natural way to deter them from your bounty. All that just so I would not worry about the deer starving. I know you were laughing on the inside because you knew the deer had plenty to eat, without intruding on your garden. Do you still smile when you think of that?
The roses I am gazing upon bring tears to my eyes. It makes me remember the year you brought me so many rosebushes home to plant. They were so beautiful. I remember how one of the red rosebuds bloomed last November. It was perfect while the plant’s limbs were hideous in comparison. Just one single rose amidst all the frozen plants. Our daughter asked me why that one bud bloomed that way. I told her that it was a sign. It was good news for her daddy, but it would be the most devastating news for us. I was right. That was the last bloom you ever got to see in our little paradise. Now, you are in your own paradise. I buried you just before Christmas. I believe you are at peace. And I believe that there are beautiful sunflowers and roses of all colors surrounding you every day. Our little paradise is dead now, the flowers have all died, but I still sit at our patio, in silence, waiting for just one sign. If I close my eyes, I can hear your laughter from our last spring together. I miss you.