In my mom’s backyard garden, there was always a persistent patch of Forget-Me-Nots. Those tiny blue buds were a happy sight each spring, bursting forth with jubilation and triumph over their successfully large plot in a non-garden area in the yard. They were planted, with good intentions, in the middle of a grassy spot and they did their thing – they spread.
Every spring after my dad died, my mom would dig up a fistful of Forget-Me-Nots, roots and all, and would take them to the cemetery where my dad’s ashes had been placed in a columbarium. There was a small, orderly garden plot directly across from the plaque behind which my dad’s urn sat and my Mom would faithfully replant those Forget-Me-Nots in new soil.
The cemetery had strict guidelines for items placed at graves, in front of columbariums and in the garden plots scattered around the grounds. They were firm that you were not allowed to plant anything yourself but you could pay the cemetery to plant trees in memory of your loved one. We did that one year with a black walnut tree – much like the ones in the yard where my dad grew up on his farm, outside of Wallaceburg – and they stationed a small plaque at its base identifying that it was my dad’s tree.
While the tree and the plaque were nice, there was something to be gained that was satisfying for the soul through the act of replanting these flowers. My Mom would defiantly plant those Forget-Me-Nots each year, without fail.
Yesterday, was the anniversary of my dad’s death. Twenty-one years have passed and my mom, after her own Cancer diagnosis, joined him in heaven last September.
I may not be in Canada this spring, but when I’m there in the future, I hope to continue not only the small rebellion of planting Forget-Me-Nots, but also little acts of love that will help me remember and honour my parents. They were quiet protesters in their own right, advocating for the voiceless, the poor, the sick and the oppressed. Their names may never enter history books, but they left a legacy of kindness and love and of sacrificial giving of themselves.
Those tiny blue blossoms. No matter how hard the winter, they are resilient, persistent, and multiply joy. May we weather storms of life in an equal manner.