Gardens, Fairies, and M.E.

Most mornings I spend time in the garden. Gardening and my love for growing things is a gift of my childhood given to me by my mother. She would advise, suggest or simply remind us that if you spend some time in the garden each day there would be less work than if you left the garden alone and visited it once a week to care for it. Some of my brothers resisted and made “gardening” a dreaded chore. I never really minded – my mother may have a different memory of my feelings for gardening – and now I find my time in the garden to be very therapeutic.

We have planted a beautiful perennial bed around the house. It is planted in a circle around the cul-de-sac where we live. When it was originally planted we thought that more of the property was ours than actually is but that doesn’t bother me. I see it all and seeing something beautiful and cared for and loved gives me pleasure. First the crocuses bloomed tiny and purple whispering that spring was coming. Then the daffodils and forsythia opened and surrounded the cul-de-sac in yellow. The irises were next. Many of these irises came from our previous house. We dug them up before we moved and shared some and built the garden just for them. The irises were beautiful. The many varieties bloomed in every shade of purple for about six weeks. Yesterday I cut away the last one. Now the daylilies and tickseed are beginning to bloom and the garden is turning yellow again. Soon the alliums and the coneflowers will open and the garden will once again be purple.

In between trimming away the dead blooms there is plenty of weeding to do. I simply pull the weeds and fill our giant yellow bucket. I never think about that fact that I am killing the weeds – for that is exactly what I want to do. Weeds in my garden will take away from the beauty of the garden so they must go. Right after Catie died even throwing away the dead flowers was difficult for me, now I do so without even thinking about it. I am choosing. I am playing God in my garden. Some of the weeds that look pretty and have flowers are permitted to stay. Every day I visit the garden admiring and planning (after this blooms I will move it over here where will look better or compliment what is there or have more room or …) and enjoying the beauty and the peace. Is that what the garden of Eden was like for God?

What a mess we humans have made of God’s garden! Or have we? Today is a day with many prayer requests. Mary Coffey is having heart surgery. Her parents are praying and asking all to join them. Little Mary has been in the hospital for months now and her family would love her to come home. Please pray for Angelo and MaryRita Ambrosetti. These dear sweet souls are parents of my dear friend who arranged the weekend in Annapolis. Sunday night Mary Rita fell and broke her arm in two places. In the grand view of life that may not seem like much but MaryRita is not a young woman. So pray for her and her beloved Angelo. Pray for Trevor and Elizabeth at St. Jude as they are both back in-patient. Trevor was allowed to walk outside for 30 minutes; for the first time in many days he breathed fresh air – well he stood in the parking lot trying to hitch a ride to anywhere. No takers as he was dragging his IV pole. Can you even imagine? When Catie was in-patient, never for longer than six days, I never left her and let me tell you it was so strange to step outside. We take so much for granted. Please also pray for Trevor’s mom, Pam. Today is her birthday and her second one at St. Jude in-patient with her sweet son. Happy Birthday Pam! Please pray for the friends and families of the three teenagers involved in an accident over the weekend here. Two of them died and we know the agony their families are facing.

I see the difference and the similarities in our situations. Focusing on the differences would offer no benefit to any of us. Catie had a disease. There was no accident, no blame, no guilt involved in Catie’s death. Focusing on the pure fact that a child died brings people and their ability to comfort one another together. In some ways, while still a tragedy, Catie’s disease was a blessing for it gave us the gift of time. As I cried last night, Kevin asked me if I could have Catie back for five minutes what would I tell her. I sat there. I don’t need five minutes; I wanted a lifetime with Catie. I was given seven years; her lifetime. Now, I still tell her each and every day how very much I love her. How very proud I am of her and how much I miss her. I know where she is. M.E. announces that Catie is in heaven, every time she hears the word HEAVEN. We have that comfort and we want to offer that comfort to others. We knew that Catie knew so very well how much she was loved and is loved and we thank all of you for that. We know that prayer was Catie’s comfort. We also know how very much all of your prayers supported us and lifted us up and helped us to heal. Are we done? Are you tired of praying?

Many people wrote to us after the last update. Thank you. Several of you expressed helplessness after reading where we are. One of Maggie’s last days on the bus this year she sat down next to the same little girl she has shared the bus with for most of the year. This little girl was reading the yearbook and proudly shared it was Maggie. When they reached one page the little girl stopped and covered a picture. She looked at Maggie. Maggie gently asked why she was covering that part of the page. The little girl responded that there was a picture under her hand that she didn’t want Maggie to see because if Maggie became sad and cried after seeing the picture this little girl would not know what to do. Such honesty!! Such love and concern for Maggie and Maggie’s feelings!! Little girl you are wonderful. Thank you!!

I offer you this.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God. For as Christ’s sufferings overflow to us, so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow. If we are afflicted, it is for your encouragement and salvation; if we are encouraged, it is for your encouragement, which enables you to endure the same suffering that we suffer. Our hope for you is firm, for we know that as you share your sufferings, you also share in the encouragement.” (2Corinthians 3-7)

How can I offer you encouragement? I pray that over the past year we have not only shared our sufferings. I pray that we have also offered prayers for hope. Last year today, we met with the Pediatric Orthopedist who offered us little in the way of an answer for Catie. This year we know that Catie is in heaven waiting to listen to our prayers and wanting to take those prayers to God our Father and ask on our behalf for His blessing. What could be more hopeful!! We know where she is and we know what she desired to do for us once she reached heaven. If prayer isn’t the answer I would be lost. I would be like my perennial garden left unloved. The flowers would still bloom and fade but no one would cut away the dead ones to reveal the beauty of the new blooms. The beauty of the flowers possibly would be lessened by the growing weeds. When I left for Memphis to care for Catie wonderfully generous neighbors took over caring for the gardens. They left their generous love in our garden for they added seashells and fairies. This year before the plants grew back Mia gently washed and cared for all the seashells and fairies. Then she placed each one back in the garden to give encouragement that something would be coming.

Today I can do nothing that will make a lasting impression on any of you. My prayers for you can; and only God my Father knows how. Please be generous with your love; shower it on those you love. Please be generous with your prayers; pray for everyone who had an impact on you – good, bad or indifferent. Through your prayers for others those that had a good impact could have a better impact of the next person they encounter. Through prayer the person that had a bad impact can be changed or your attitude of this person can be changed and that is all good. Prayer is so very powerful. I prayed for the last year for Catie to live and be fully restored to health – now I do not need her back here for five minutes. If she did come back I would hold her and listen to her and share her just like I did before. Prayer changed my heart and prayers are freeing me from my sadness.

May God bless you and the work of your hands,

Christine, Kevin, Maggie, Max, Catie, Mia, Molly, and M.E.

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