The lilac brings a single branch of flowers and a million memories tumble around in my mind. Memories shared with her—with Granny. The first picnic of the spring. The freshly squeezed lemonade. The woven lawn chairs, their fibers splitting from years of use. And memories of Granny herself–her fragrance of powder and lipstick, the look of her in a cotton gingham dress, cheeks flushed with unaccustomed heat. I can still see her standing at the screen door of the red and white house, so happy at the station wagon’s arrival.
Then the sweet grace of a lazy afternoon–Dad cutting the grass while the Mom and Granny prepared the dinner—watermelon, corn on the cob, deviled eggs, hamburgers. I’d climb up the dusty attic stairs and enter my “garret,” playing at Josephine March, filling notebooks. Her home was one of my special places, mostly because she was there.
Her home was not always a joy-filled place. When she was a mama my age, she was left alone there, surrounded by shards of a broken marriage. She went back to work as a nurse while her Father sewed up her own wounds with threads of grace. I did not know her then, but I listened close when she told me about the lonely places and how He filled with friends and music and travels and grandchildren.
So I smile when I see this first transplanted bloom, brought in a bucket from Ohio to Vermont—a gift from her house. Her house that has long since been home to another, but this piece is mine.
She had loved flowers. My mind reaches back to a day when frozen roses lay on the churned February earth. But the lilac is alive. Amethyst in amaranthine loveliness, reminding of her.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24