Watching Winter Take Hold


Watching Winter Take Hold                                                              November 2012

I am among the very fortunate.  As the daughter of a World War II Hero, Montana rough and tumble cowboy and an English bred and born, proper manners ballerina I have seen the best of both worlds – and learned many lessons along the way.

It is my honor to be assisting my parents as they pass through the winter of their lives.  What an experience this has been and continues to be.

Any of you who have known my parents, or visited their home, could not have missed the lovely perennial garden just above the house.  Flowers in purples and yellows, pinks and blues, misty greens and more – all mixed and matched in the magical way only an English Garden can accomplish.

From the back porch area of my parent’s home I can see my mother’s perennial garden.  Planted and groomed in the traditional English Garden fashion this plot of cherished ground has grown as my parent’s lives have.  Early on, when the folks first built the house – some forty years ago – the garden was in the very early stages.  Tilling, planting, arranging and constantly working to make improvements.

And then one day – there it was in full bloom – in all its glory. I imagine our lives are like that.  Somewhere between 45 and 60 we feel we have made it socially, financially, economically, reaching what we believe to be our fullest potential in our chosen profession – and then….

The garden begins to wind down.  Our lives take a new turn – all the children have gone on to build their own gardens – spreading their butterfly wings to all parts of the world. The children come and go for visits bringing an increasing number of grand children to sit upon the knees and hear the stories of family travels.

Today – the garden is almost non-existent – it is winter in Montana – so that speaks to some of it – but as the years passed and mom was less and less able to work in her beautiful English Garden – time has taken its toll – on the garden and on their bodies and spirits.

It will soon be two years since we moved our parents from the home of some forty years to a retirement complex 150 miles away. The move was much more difficult for them than any transplanting mom ever did in that garden.

They were overwhelmed with grief, anxiety, the unknown, finances, no longer driving – oh my there were so many things.  Even though all four of us children have been here for the ride to help and assist – it has been difficult.  I look at them today at 89 and 94 and marvel at whom these two people are.  What grand individuals – determined to make the best of a new situation, struggling through illnesses that have taken lesser sturdy souls; and still worrying about their kids – all of us older than the home they built but the center of the garden they grew,

It is my wish that each of can usher the will and the steadfastness, honesty and integrity to finish out our time on earth that my parents have displayed through the winter of their lives.

As I review this writing, Mom is truly struggling.  The cancer has returned in full force and her time is very limited.  Jil and Dave are with the folks and Hospice has been called to assist.  As it will for all of us one day, Winter has come to call.


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