By Bernadette A. Moyer
"non che la rosa sensa la spina" translation “there is no rose without thorns”
When my father died in December of 2009 honoring his memory was an easy decision since he requested donations to the public library where he was a regular patron. I loved books, I am a writer, it was what he wanted and so off went that $1,000 donation. My husband and I were happy to do it.
Two years later when my grandmother passed at the young old age of 101 her request was easily honored as well. I was working for the Archdiocese of Baltimore and she was a Catholic in good standing during her entire life. Her request was the local Catholic school in Lansford Pennsylvania. Again my husband and I were both happy that we were in a position to make that donation.
But what do you do for your own mother who decided 23 years before her passing to delete you from her life? It is coming up on that 1st year anniversary and I couldn’t see myself writing a check for a donation to one of the places mentioned in her obituary. An obituary that didn’t include me as her second born daughter.
I had to think long and hard about what was appropriate and felt right for me. Perhaps it was yet another example of my rebellious nature as even in her death I wasn’t going to give in to her “wishes.” The same “wishes” that would keep us apart for 23 years and the same “wishes” that would publicly deny that I was her daughter.
Several months after her passing I went to the cemetery where she was buried, by chance it was a cold and rainy day. As soon as I stepped out of the car, I could feel the tears streaming down my cheeks. The words came without any thought or prompting, I said, "I am here, you win, I came to see you." Even as I write this I am overcome with grief and the tears begin again.
I am a mother and I have had my share of “stuff” with my daughters and yet I can’t imagine estrangement ever being my choice or denial ever coming from my side of the relationship. That just isn’t me or how my heart works. Yet it was the choice my mother made and one that I have lived with.
Finally it came to me I will plant a rose garden and dedicate it to the memory of my mother. When I pass by or am working in it I will pray for her soul. Roses are beautiful and come in all colors and varieties. They are also thorny just like my relationship with my mother.
For my mother Inez, who left us on April 7, 2011 a real life living rose garden and the song Rose Garden, in your memory …
~ Rose Garden ~ lyrics by Joe South, recorded by Lynn Anderson
I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden. Along with the sunshine, there’s gotta be a little rain sometimes. When you take, you gotta give, so live and let live, or let go. I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden.
I could sing you a tune or promise you the moon, but if that’s what it takes to hold you. I’d just as soon let you go, but there’s one thing I want you to know. You better look before you leap, still waters run deep. And there won’t always be someone there to pull you out, and you know what I am talking about. So smile for a while and let’s be jolly: Love shouldn’t be so melancholy. Come along and share the good times while we can.
I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden. Along with the sunshine, there’s gotta be a little rain sometimes.
But … there will be a Rose Garden for us, a real live living rose garden and it will be filled with life and with color and will be fragrant and beautiful just the way I would have wanted our relationship to be …
In God’s Peace Mom …