April 15, 1985 is the day my mother died. It was inevitable. Death and taxes, can’t escape ’em.
She died a week before her birthday.She missed the blooming of the tulips she had Dad plant the previous fall. She loved to garden, and that was the only time she didn’t participate in the planting.
I have clear memories of her poking around in the garden in her pedal-pushers with a trowel in her hand. She planted irises, peonies, lilacs and roses. In the summer she bought flats of petunias and marigolds. Hauled manure from the horse farm nearby to mix with the clay that was left in our development. Together with my father, they planted an apple, cherry and peach, and a honey locust tree given to them by the housing developer. In the back we had a vegetable garden. In the early summer, we chased little wild bunnies that munched on the raspberry leaves.
It was from my mom that I learned the pleasures of turning the soil, of pulling the weeds and of planting the seeds.
Gardening was her release from the tensions of the household. Laboring intthe garden, lost in the task, we both found peace.