My grandfather, who's garden I have written about before, suffered a massive and unexpected heart attack and died recently. I've spent the past two weekends down in the city of the City of the Crosses helping out my grandmother in any way I can. I don't know if this is normal, but for our family that means yard-work.
I helped my father do some heavy pruning on a fig tree that suffered some damage this past winter. I built row covers to keep rabbits out of the vegetable beds. I helped tie back my grandmother's favourite rose to protect it from the 60 mph winds. I did it all because I know it's what my grandfather would have been doing.
Nor was I the only one. When the kids next door heard what had happened, they marched over, solemnly hugged my grandmother, and announced that they would weed her garden for her this summer. It was touching how, after years of playing in the garden, they knew exactly how they could help. They also swept her porch and planted seeds in a vegetable bed.
My grandfather once told me that two things in his life made him more proud than anything else. First, that he had raised four good daughters. Secondly, that he had positively impacted at least one plot of land. He viewed his garden as a form of stewardship to the earth and liked to think that he had made a lasting mark, by improving the soil, in that area.
The garden was once one of his passions, a joyous project. I hope that now it will continue to grow as a living memorial to him. I hope that as my grandmother, myself, the kids, and other continue to tend the garden we will also be tending our memories of him. I hope that neighbours walking past the garden will think of him. I hope the garden continues to grow for a long time.