I live to garden. It is by far my favorite hobby. I find it utterly satisfing to transform dull and empty spaces into a small oasis for human/animal consumption. That consumption can be in the form of sensory experiences through sight, smell and touch or in the form of literal feeding, herbs for the humans and nectar for the birds, bees and butterflies.
I don’t wait until late May to start gardening, instead I start in January. First I devour every seed catalog aloug that I can get my hands on. I salivate at all the beautiful varieties that exist and envison all the beauties in my yard. Then I order the seeds and wait for their arrival. When the seeds arrive I start to make landscape drawings of what I already have and where the new stuff is going to go. I plant the seeds, put them under grow lights and wait for the baby seedlings to begin to emerge. The whole process is so delicate and particular, and needs just the right conditions to happen. Sometimes I am really good, or the seeds were an easy variety. Other times I fail miserably. I suppose that is part of the fun for me, to try something and see if I can make it happen.
All of this is leading me to the fact that I peruse through nurseries long before many people even think about going out, I am early bird if you will. I ended up at a nursery about a month ago and they barely had any plants but I wanted to look around and find something to buy. A few years ago this same nursery had donated a bunch of plants to me for the garden that I maintain at the cemetery where all my patients have their babies buried.
I looked around and found the perfect thing for a new bed that I had just dug at home. I took it to the cashier and she rang me out. A woman walked by and saw what I purchased and opened her phone to show me the same plant and what it looked like after three years in her garden. As she walked away I asked the cashier who the woman was and she said “the owner” and I immediatly regretted not asking sooner, I would have thanked her for her donation. Instead I told the cashier that I was very appreciative of her boss and that she had donated a bunch of flowers to a burial site specific for miscarried babies.
The cashier who was in her late 50s to early 60s said “Oh, that is near and dear to my heart”. This happens often to me and then the person usually tells me how many years ago they suffered a miscarriage and there weren’t any services or programs set up back then and how nice it is that we do things for families now who are going through this type of loss. Except that’s not what she said. “My daughter died of a brain tumor five years ago she said”.
I just stared at her, shocked, trying in my mind to figure out how this was connected to miscarriage.
This might sound crazy, she said, but my other daughter who survived her sisters passing was having a really hard time with it all. One morning she called me and said “Mom, I dreamed of Casey (the sister who had died) last night, except it didn’t feel like a dream Mom it felt like she was actually visiting me.”
The surviving daughter explained how in the dream she cried and ran towards her sister when she saw her and said “Where are you, are you ok”? Casey responded that she was fine, she was great, and very busy. Busy doing what my younger daughter inquired. “I take care of the miscarried babies when they arrive in Heaven”she said. “Actually there is a baby named Benjamin coming right now so I have to go, tell Mom I love her and I’m fine”.
The cashier gushed about her beloved daughter Casey and how comforting it was to think of her somewhere else doing what she lived for; caretaking, loving and spreading kindness.
I told the cashier that I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and asked her what kind her daughter had. Ependymoma she said. That’s the kind that I’m hoping not to have, it’s on my differential diagnosis list.
She told me that Casey would watch over me.
To be honest I didn’t find much comfort in that, I find more comfort in the idea that perhaps one day when I leave this body that I will have a friend on the other side, someone who can teach me how to caretake in a another realm, a new friend named Casey.
My friend Fran believes there is no such thing as coincidence. I don’t know what I think about that but my heart is full thinking that the sweet babies that I work with every day are not alone and are being taken care of.
My next scan is June 3rd. I’m glad gardening season is here, I always need a distraction the month before a scan…