Sunday, November 8, 2009

So What if I have another Brown Spot?

I looked in the mirror today and there it was-- a new brown spot. It wasn’t there yesterday. This brown spot is an old age spot. I am getting older whether I like it or not. Then I thought about my mother and even though she had brown spots, she never would be considered old. Her mind stayed young and active until non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma consumed her body.

I aspire to be like my mother, maybe old on the outside but young, energetic and eager to learn on the inside. She was a kind soul who truly cared about others. I aspire to be like her and use my “orphan” status to help others through their grief.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

September 8 Marks Three Years

A Message to My Mother:

I can't believe that on September 8 it will be three years since you passed away. Every day, I miss hearing your voice, your optimistic outlook on life, your caring ways, your strength in dealing with life challenges and of course, your presence.

I wear something of yours everyday-- a pin, a ring, earrings, a necklace--to keep your memory close to my heart. My hope is that you are looking down on me and smiling, that you know that I will keep trying to honor your memory, and that your memory lives on in all of those who you have touched.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Forever Memory Pin

In December 2008, I made a New Year’s resolution at that I would create a lapel pin, which would be a symbol of hopefulness for those who had experienced the loss of a loved one. By wearing this pin, it would honor the memory of their loved one. The person wearing the pin would also have an opportunity to speak about their grief to others. Sometimes it just helps to know others care and that they relate to your grief. Hopefully, the person that is wearing the pin would feel that they are not alone.

In our society grief is not spoken about or is hidden. I think all of us need the opportunity to speak about our grief, even if the grief is from a loss in the distant past. Since we do not wear black to show we are in mourning anymore, this pin would demonstrate our grieving in a subtle way and would be uplifting to those who wear it.

Well, this is one New Year’s resolution that I’ve kept. The pin is designed and I’ve named it the Forever Memory Pin. More news about the pin will follow. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Steps for planting the Forever Memory Garden

Chose an area 16 X 20 feet
Laid out the planting scheme on graph paper
Rented a tiller to break up the earth
Raked the area several times to remove all the twigs, roots and other obstructions
Purchased peat moss to put in the holes and to spread around the plants
Purchased perennial plants, speedwell and lantana and one perennial, Juliet Dahlia
Purchased lilies, begonias (weather tolerant) and portulacas (drought tolerant)-- annual plants with color to plant on the borders of the garden
Dug up cannas from another location on the property
Once the raking was done, a focal point was picked for the cannas, which was the center of the garden. A hole was dug and peat moss was mixed with the soil before the cannas were planted. The cannas were placed in the hole and dirt was put in the hole and around the cannas along with more peat moss.
Next the lilies were planted around the cannas, leaving enough space for weeding.
Next the lantanas were planted in a circular manner.
Next the speedwell plants, which are low lying plants that are great for borders.
Then the begonias were planted, which were pink and yellow in color, for the border. The begonias’ colors made the garden “pop” and created a true sense of where the garden boundary was.
Each time the plant was placed in the hole where dirt and peat moss were mixed and then peat moss was spread around the top of the plant.
Shake and feed fertilizer was put on all the plants. The plants were watered twice to make sure the soil was good and wet. Peat moss was then spread over the entire garden to keep in the moisture.

Do not plan to plant the garden in 102 degrees in the summer. Fall or Spring would be a much better time than the summer. Choose plants that are best planted for this time of year.
Choose perennials and a few annuals for color.
Start with a small plot of land for the garden. 8 X 10 feet is a good size. If you have space challenges, start with a 4 X 5 foot footprint.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Forever Memory Garden

I was thinking of remembering my mother in a special, almost permanent way when the thought of a remembrance garden came to mind. My friend, Jennifer Blair, thought this was a great idea and volunteered to help me. You must know that I have a “black” thumb when it comes to gardening so when Jennifer said she would help me I was not only excited, but also relieved.

Jennifer flew down from Washington DC to Cairo, Georgia, where my husband and I own twenty acres. She surprised me with a beautiful ceramic plaque that she had made and which read, “In Memory of Marina Gonzalez”.
I picked a sight near the lake for the garden and where I would be able to see the garden from the windows of our future home. I bought an old bench, with lots of character, for $10 and placed it under a magnolia tree and placed it in front of the future garden with a view of the lake.

Jennifer and I planted the garden in memory of my mother on Father’s Day weekend. We planted lilies, cannas, lantana, begonias, portulacas, speedwell and one Juliet Dahlia. It was 102 degrees but we persevered and finished the garden without getting heat stroke. We placed the plaque leaning against the cannas. The garden is truly lovely, achieved with a lot of love with every hole dug and every plant placed in the earth.

You might ask why do something in honor of my mother on this special day for fathers? I know my father understands why I did something for my mother on his day. He always gave my mother beautiful cards for Valentine’s Day, for anniversaries, and for every other occasion and gave her beautiful gifts. He so appreciated the special person my mother was. So I am honoring my mother on his behalf—that is my Father’s Day present to him. I know my mother is smiling down from heaven looking at her garden.

I will remember sweet memories of both of my parents whenever I sit on the bench overlooking the beautiful garden.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Father’s Day without Father

What do you do when there is no father to celebrate on Father’s Day?
I decided to make a donation to Hospice in memory of my father.

Both my mother and father were in Hospice the last weeks of their lives. Hospice served as a peaceful time for their last days—no pain, no more needles sticking in them, no more X-rays, no more hospital. Apparently, in medieval times, hospice was a place where weary travelers found shelter. Now Hospice provides an environment where those facing life-limiting illnesses can live their last days in comfort, at peace and in control of their health care. I am grateful for the care they received.

So this Father’s Day, if your father has passed, think about giving to your favorite non-profit organization in memory of your father. It will make your heart feel good and you will know that your father was remembered.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Where's My Chicken Soup

I've been under the weather the last couple of days. These are one of the times I really miss my mother. When she was alive, she would check on me every day or I would check in on her with a phone call. During the call, if she found out I was not feeling well, she would make me homemade chicken soup and drive forty-five minutes to my home to deliver it to me.

There is no substitute for a mother's caring ways. Not getting chicken soup is one of the things I have to get use to. But still I yearn for my mother's chicken soup.