Thursday, May 28, 2015

Lydie's Garden

A while ago, both my aunt and my mom mentioned the possibility of a memorial garden for Lydie.  I wasn't sure.  My thumb is not green and it seemed like a lot of work and quite frankly, I find life overwhelming as it is these days.

A few days later, as I looked at Lydie's Christmas tree still glowing in April, I thought, "Why the hell not?"  Perhaps we could at least be seasonally-appropriate with the ways we honor Lydie.  I polled my Third Trimester Loss group for ideas and heard a lot about angel statues.

A couple of days later, Ben and I were out running errands when I saw this and immediately decided that every girl needs a bike.  And dammit, I was going to buy this bike for my daughter.  And that settled it for me: Lydie would have a garden and that garden would have a bike. We really just aren't angel statues people.

Not quite the bike I had in mind for Lydie, but every girl needs a bike. 
When my parents were in town for Benjamin's birthday, we sectioned off part of the yard and started the process of killing the grass.  We seem to have no problem accidentally killing grass, but intentionally doing it seems much more difficult, especially because I'm against chemicals (dog + 2-year-old + scary-as-hell pregnancy = no thank you).

My mom suggested laying wet newspaper on top of the grass, and I dug through the recycle bins and the antique tin by the fireplace to find some old newspaper.

When I was about to lay this one down, it took my breath away:

That's right.  This newspaper is dated November 5, 2014.

After I got over the "Oh my God!  Oh my God!  Oh my God!"  I stopped and thought about it.  Justin and I don't read USA Today (in fact, we had a hard time finding newspaper because you know, we have Iphones).  But my dad was on a business trip in Tennessee when he got the phone call that his granddaughter's heart had stopped beating (this one wasn't by me.  I didn't have it in me to deliver that news to anyone else after my husband, mom, and sister).  He was already on his way to Columbus when I spoke to him, and I told him there was no urgency, there was nothing he could do.  But I guess as a parent, he would rather feel useless nearby than useless far away.  I get that.  I appreciate that.  He came as soon as he could.  And he must have brought this USA Today with him.

I threw it on top of the grass and told November 5, 2014 good riddance.  It seemed a little bit fitting to put that paper in Lydie's Garden.

And Lydie's mom and brother and dad and Oma Jo and Pop-Pop started the work on her garden.

When friends and family members heard about our plans, they surprised us, as usual with their thoughtfulness and generosity.  It's sweet knowing that these plants and decorations were chosen for Lydia with love.

"You are the sunshine in my life," from my Oma's garden. Justin picked out the moon for Lydie.  

A lilac bush from Lydie's Aunt Laura and her cousins.
A beautiful glass flower, made for Lydie by my colleague Heidi

A sweet note with a gift card to a garden store from my carpool buddy, Marlaine

Bright yellow dahlia bulbs - perfect for our girl - from Sam's mom, Jeanie
From her mama.  I am not a Bible person but have always loved this verse.  It was read at our wedding and 3 1/2 years later, at Lydie's memorial.  It reminds me that love transcends death.

Justin's creation
From her Oma Jo, this reads "My heart goes with you wherever you are."  Another version of "i carry your heart with me. (i carry it in my heart.)"

Dragonfly from Oma Jo

wagon full of flowers from Mrs. Taylor, transplanted from her home.
A few weeks ago, my mom, who does have a green thumb, visited for the weekend.  The plan was to get Lydie's Garden planted.  I was not looking forward to the manual labor, but was looking forward to having this way to honor our girl.

But then Mother Nature shit on our plans since it wouldn't stop raining all weekend.  Saturday, we worked through the rain to design the garden.  Apparently garden design is very important!  I went to bed on Saturday night hoping we'd wake up to sunny skies to dry out the ground.  And we did!  Until it started pouring rain fifteen minutes later.

Big Brother overseeing.

Last Friday, I took a vacation day and kept Benjamin in daycare for his final day of the summer.  And... I planted my daughter's garden.  I cried when I hit a root from the neighbor's tree when I was trying to plant an azalea bush.  Seriously, universe, I'm planting a garden for my dead daughter.  Can't anything be easy? 

But Justin got home early and dug out that root and helped me finish planting.  And here's our Lydie's Garden. 

It's sad to think that Lydie's Garden will bloom and grow in a way she won't ever get to.  I hope it continues to bring comfort to our hearts and help us keep our girl, and our love for her, close.


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  2. Heather and Justin, it is a beautiful garden! I can feel the love! Tulip bulbs coming this fall from Aunt Helen, Uncle Ron and Great Oma for a touch of Dutch.

    1. Thanks aunt Helen! I meant to add that in here, that you're sending tulips to be planted in the fall. Do you have tulips in Michael's Garden too?

    2. Yes, the fall after Michael died, Oma and Opa brought tulips to plant in his garden. Now the tulips make me think of them too.

  3. What a beautiful garden! I love how so many people contributed to it for Lydie. Also, congratulations on your news! Keeping you in my prayers!

  4. This is beautiful! I love how Lydie sent you a sign that she was there with you as you were preparing the garden. There can't be any other explanation of why that specific date appeared and that really is beautiful! Love it! <3

  5. This makes me want to plant a garden in honor. It looks wonderful!

  6. We didn't know you were doing's so beautiful...I would love to contribute something to Lydia's garden .... Will be looking for something special for her from her Grandpa and Nana Rita :-) give hugs to our sweet was so precious seeing him helping in the pictures!

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  9. This is a beautiful garden for Lydie! I think of you all often and appreciate what it takes for you and to share your heart here on your blog and Justin through his Instagram.

  10. This is a lovely space to go and be with your girl. We made a garden in our house in Columbus, GA (where we lived when Cale was born) and then have made one on a couple of the houses we have lived in since and I'm actually in the process of making one here in Savannah I hope to have finished by the end of the month, on the 28th, his 5th birthday. I will tell you something my mom once told me and I think it's good advice about planting anything, but especially a garden or something that has personal meaning to it - but plants die. It's NOTHING personal. It's not some sign. It's not anything more than sometimes they get too much water or not enough or the soil is bad or the bugs and animals get to them or whatever the case. So, if a flower dies, just try to remember it's nothing more than a flower dying - THOSE can be replaced.

    You guys did a great job. I hope it's comforting you.


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