Thursday, June 10, 2010


She's out early walking the garden. She couldn't sleep again last night, it's nothing unusual sleep has been eluding her for years.

At first it was exciting. She would give up sleep happily and freely to explore new places, meet new people, growing her social circle. Those days gave way to loosing sleep over deadlines, and projects, growing her career.

Then came the insomnia of parenthood. She often looks back at that time as good sleep. Oh not when it was happening, no, but in hindsight it was not so bad. Dragging, or rather rolling her pregnant body out of the bed for multiple trips to the bathroom. The peaceful 2am feedings where she could gaze into the eyes of her nursing child and just get lost in the connection, the love. Looking back now she misses it, she would do anything to swim in that love of a newborns gaze. 

No the insomnia she suffers now is none of those things. It is the insomnia of grief, of loss. The nightmares of what did happen and what could have happened in her mind. The could ofs are far more painful. Waking up thinking you hear a baby, or feel a kick, only to realize that you are alone in a cold bed with no one that needs your attention. It's gotten better, her doctor gave her a prescription to quiet her thoughts and help her sleep, but she doesn't want to take it. She doesn't want to seem unstable to those around her. She has living children that still depend on her, but sometimes she craves that deep un-dreaming sleep the pills provide. 

It's been awhile since she's needed it, maybe tonight she tells herself as she stifles a yawn. It's been a hard week. Kids are demanding, outside responsibilities are demanding and it seems that everyone she knows is growing a baby more successfully than her. Her e-mail inbox is filled with the announcements of this birth and that birth. At the grocery store she is accosted by growing bellies at every turn. She knows in the logical part of her head that this is not a strange baby boom that she is being left out of. With warmer weather comes more revealing clothes. Her logical brain tells her that between the season and her grief she is just noticing more, picking them out. But logic and grief, they are not friends, the do not reside together and so her grief bubbles and she grows weary and tired. Oh so tired. 

She cups her warm coffee mug in her hands and brings it to her lip, letting the steam waft over and warm her face before taking a sip. She starts to take in the garden, trying to shift her thoughts on to something different, anything other than growing baby bellies as hers sits deflated and empty.  She gazes out at the yard and garden and her breathe starts to slow and relax. Her garden never fails to inspire her, lifting her spirits and helping her move on.

Gardening is new to her. She grew up in the city, in a high rise. To her gardening was something you did in a pot on the windowsill. Two years in suburbia and the unexpectedness of the gardening still surprised her. Every season a new little plant would shoot up that they hadn't seen before or hadn't planted. How a little plant could just one day sprout up in the middle of the paved driveway, like it belonged there and had been there all along. She loved to watch each year as her children dropped seeds into the dirt and their (honestly hers too) surprise when things actually grew from them. 

But what struck her the most is how fast the garden could grow if given the right levels of sun and water and nurture. She stepped onto the cold dew covered lawn, a little shocking at first to her bare feet and made her way over to her special patch, the butterfly garden she planted in memoriam. She was surprised at it's growth. In just a few short weeks what had just been green stalks were blooming with colors. Everyday the petals on the cone flowers and black eyed Susan's got thicker and filled in. They seemed to grow taller everyday reaching higher and higher up. The growth in this garden filled her with hope and happiness. It used to be filled with death. Just a pile of mulch and a dead bush. Now, now it was growing and thriving full of life. Yes there could be life after death, she could grow, she could move on.

She took in a deep breathe, taking in the aroma of the garden mixing with her coffee, hearing the sweet sound of the birds. Yes, we are all growing here she thought. My little garden of hope and me, we will continue to push through the death and darkness and become brightness and light. As she walked back to the house she felt better, lighter. Maybe she wouldn't need those pills after all.

This post is part of Creativity Boot Camp (I am using short story, fiction, as my medium). Prompt: Growth. I have decided to do both a photo and writing from the prompt, because I'm a little crazy like that. These photos are from the prompt. If you want to see the ones I did for this prompt check out my Flickr Stream


Tammy Lee Bradley said...

Push through... and become brightness and light. Oh, these words will stick with me for awhile. I think they make a nice mantra.

Thank you for sharing both your story and photos. See you tomorrow. Tam

Mary Lesh said...

I look so forward to reading your stories. You are an awesome writer, you should publish a collection of these.

Louise said...

Beautiful story again. I look forward to reading them.


Hyacynth said...

Sitting here, tears in my eyes and goosebumps on my arm, reading this. And I'm feeling such a connection to your heart -- your beautiful, writer's heart.
I know this was hard to write. It was hard to read because it made me ache. But at the same time, it was so freeing. I hope you feel the same from writing it as I did from reading it. Because oh my gosh, YES(!):
"Yes there could be life after death ..."
Yes, there IS. In so many ways. Praise Him for that.
Love you, friend. Beautiful.

Unknown said...

Oh Melissa. I do a lot of blog reading with a toddler snuggled up to me and on my google reader on my iPhone. But sometimes your posts take my breath away so much I have to get out the laptop so I can properly respond. Thank you for sharing such amazing, inspiring words. I will be first in line when your first book is published.