We returned Thomas' first tree today - the one that we planted in May and watched slowly die over the long hot summer.
Oh what uplifting fun that was.
I haven't been out to check tree number two for buds yet, but it stayed strong and healthy through the late summer and fall, so I'm assuming it'll be sprouting life-affirming bright green buds in a month or so.
In the meantime I have a $206 nursery credit for the dead tree and a little memory garden to plan.
I'm a terrible garden planner though. I'm one of those people who really, really wants to plan the perfect garden - ensuring full season blooming cycles, correct placement, colour coordination, etc. - but I generally end up getting dazzled by all the pretty colours and smells at the nursery and make awful garden choices. I load my cart with things that end up doing poorly or completely take over, providing ample coverage for our resident vole, Freddie.
But this year I'm going to try to turn over a new leaf. I swear. I want to create a beautiful, healing garden as a tribute to Thomas. I want it to be a place where I can remember him, as well as his heavenly buddies Ryan and Mekhi and all little lost souls, my other two babies included.
Digging in the dirt has always been very therapeutic. On the day I should have given birth to our first child (May 17, 2004), I went to the garden centre and chose as many beautiful things as I could pack into the car. I spent the afternoon with my hands in the earth, trying to coax life into growing there instead. It was incredibly peaceful and exactly where I belonged, even though I once again created a rather higgledy-piggledy effort.
I want to recreate the peace I found that day in a garden along the back fence. I'll be able to see it from every window in the back of the house, and so it will be a constant reminder of the beautiful little people who graced our lives for much too short a time. It will remind me of the beauty in them that still lives on.
My hope is that by the time Thomas' tree turns fiery red the little angel garden will be well on its way.
Which means I'd better get a lot better at garden planning...and fast.