My Mom is never far from my mind at any given moment, but when I'm in the garden she is always more present to me. I think of her when I pull weeds, when I prune shrubs, when I tie back the leggy branches of my climbing roses. I think of her when I rake seeds into the dirt, succession sowing zinnias and cosmos and poppies so that I can squeeze as much color from the season as possible. I remember all the long days she and I spent together, mornings already humid and the earth exhaling the hot damp scent of summer as we pulled weeds and planted flowers side-by-side.
I feel sometimes as though I'm planting happiness. On days when I miss her the most, when I wish I could call her and ask for advice, or when it just hits me that she's well and truly gone, I go out to the garden. I plant seeds. I tend my flowers. I pull weeds and imagine that every root that pops out of the soil is a bit of grief being pulled from my heart. I remember her in her garden in her blue skirt, the sun vivid on her as she handed me a shovel or a pair of pruning shears (the same ones I use in my garden now). The garden is my way of paying tribute to her. Of continuing to love her. It's a way to keep her close as I'm crouched in the dirt on humid mornings, smelling that summer earth as I plant my flowers and pull weeds, alone.