He looked around the field where people looked like little hills dressed in black. It wasn’t unusual for him to be at a graveyard, no one in his family ever lived up to 60 years old and so there was just another funeral to add to the family death list. It sounds dark, it is, but so was he. There was no real point in his life, no one to care for or to be cared from. Instead he lived out his days as any sad 19 year old boy would, by paying student loans to which he knew he would take to his grave. Both for the fact that it was expensive and the fact that he probably, like the rest of his family, wouldn’t live up to 60 years old.
But this day was a little different than usual, his grandmother died, she was 59 years old; a perfectly healthy woman who loved gardening. She was the one who took a care of him, she was his purpose and he was hers. A widow who gave all her love to him and her plants. His mother was an alcoholic, no shocker there since his uncle was a drug addict and his father was a deadbeat dad. No one had hope for him, it’s not like he did anything to receive hope but he didn’t do anything not to. Just an average Joe, but his Grandmother never saw him like that.
Through all that misery in the family every time they met she’d rub his back, ruffle his hair, and with a glossy look in her eyes she’d say “a paved road isn’t always better than a wild one and you my child are going to make your own road.” It was a quote from their favorite book. She used to read to him before bed as a child, it was about a young girl who became a lawyer despite the fact that the rest of her family was in jail, prostitutes, drug dealer, and/or missing.
He used to wake up in the morning and only think about his Nonna. She was the reason he stuck in school, he studied and got A’s throughout the school year, but now that she’s gone there didn’t seem to be a point. There was no replacement for her, how could there be. There was certainly no one to push him, to encourage him, to come to his room and give him a snack when he’s late at night studying, no one to love him, to give love back. He hunched down at her grave stone and read the markings as he ran his fingers across them. “Beloved mother and grandmother 1941-2000.” He didn’t understand what it meant to loss someone even though he’s been to the grave site to watch a handful of people get buried. People he knew, and yet this is the one that hurt the most. Compared to his father saying he didn’t want him, compared to his mother who once through him down the stairs because one of her many boyfriends was about to “make love” to her. This is the one that hurt the most.
He laid on the ground at this point. There was still no grass yet, because she’d just been buried but he didn’t mind. This was as close as he was ever going to get to her now. He let the dirt fill his left ear as he lay down and put his arm across imagining how it must feel like to hug her. And he laid there for an hour, then another and another till the mourning rose. It was the first time he went to sleep after she passed away. He dusted off the dirt and about to leave he took a glance over and prayed to God, “If you can hear me, please help me understand why you took her away from me. I can’t do this on my own, show me a sign that she can hear me, I love you Nonna, I miss you so much.”
Tears from his eyes rolled down the same path from yesterday to his checks and neck and he continued. “God please let me talk to her, let me feel her, let her be there for me, please send me a sign, anything will do.” He went about his day, and every night for about a week he’d sneak in the graveyard sight and sleep next to her. And every night he would pray for the same thing over and over again. Oddly enough every morning it rain lightly for that week till buds of Mayweeds began to grow. The soil was fertile. He looked down at those little buds and gave a smile. Never once has he notice plants till that day. When he looked at the sky and saw birds he simply saw envy that he couldn’t do the same, when he saw beautiful trees in the fall he saw nothing but more yard work, when he was flowers or any plant he was jealous that he couldn’t turn into one and leave the hell hole he was living in. But this was different. When he was those Mayweeds he saw his grandmother, he saw her love, her caring, her beauty. He did what she did when she’d garden and began to sing to the little buds that held hope. The same old song that his grandmother used to sing in the morning while watering them. It gave him hope and he started to once again go back to school. Though he’d still miss her at time it had gotten better.
He moved into her little house that was left in her will for him. He stayed there throughout college and studied nonstop. Though she wasn’t there any more it became easier knowing that he could still talk to her and that she will always be there for him, that flesh is not a limitation.
Her wooden home, now his, was in the middle of a small jungle, no large animals lived there but occasionally he would see a deer or bear, he even saw a small fox. He’d leave some of his food out there so they were free to eat it. His love for nature grew extensively as though nature wasn’t just on earth but rather a spiritual adventure. He grew to love it just like his grandmother, maybe even more. He’d visit her grave every week to tell her about his days at school and work, even about the girl he’s beginning to have feeling for, and he’d ask advice about it as well. They stay and talk to each other for hours till it got late and he’d eventually go home. Saturday nights were devoted to his grandmother, and every other day was about school and college. Soon enough he’d take over her garden and begin to care for them like she did. Singing to them, planting them, and feeding them. There were a various amount of plants like tulips, orchids, sunflowers, catclaw sensitive briar, mango trees, avocado trees, mint leaves, herbs, and more. It was a garden full of color and true love and happiness, he cherished it just like his cherished his grandmother and she did him. When the sun would fall he’d take a moment no matter the amount of work he had and thank his Grandmother and God for everything, for letting him come this far, for having true faith in him. The next week, on a Saturday night, he had gone to his Grandmother’s grave with deep worry for the one he fell for.
He told her everything from the moment he laid eyes on her to the moment he knew that girl was the one for him. He wanted to ask her out but wasn’t sure how, after months of trying to figure it out (he was a bit shy) her grave began to grow pink roses, the girls favorite flower. He waited for them to fully grow before he thanked his grandmother, cut them off, and asked the young lady out to dinner. He never missed a Saturday. He went to tell her that he graduated college, that he got a job as a horticulturist (specializes in plants), and he was about to ask the girl of his dreams to marry him. He smile and kissed the stone before allowing a few sheds of tears to drop on the ground. “I pray that in spirit you’ll be there and see me. I know for a fact that you’d like her.” The next few days he urged his finance to come meet his grandmother and so she did. She knew Nonna was dead, she knew how close he was to her, and that every Saturday he went to talk to her, but when she looked at the ground that was now filled with grass, pink roses, Mayweeds, and little flowers buds she whispered to Nonna “I still have those flowers he gave me from our first date, it was from here wasn’t it?” He nodded his head and they began to talk about how they were going to expand the little house so that they can start a family and live together.
After a few years he came back to tell his Grandmother another big news, his wife was pregnant, with a baby girl. He asked her what name he should name her and in a few months she answered. There were Aurora flowers at the edge of her grave. He left that night knowing the name of his child and that she too would have nature to fill her mind and put her heart at easy.