This week, we tend to bare spots
in our yard,
in our lives.
There is a time for everything, Solomon wrote,
a time for birth and death,
for uprooting and for planting.
Yesterday, it was time to plant.
And so we did.
We wanted to do something to remember “Bop.” That’s what the girls called Grandpa Paul. He died six months ago yesterday after a year-long battle with leukemia.
His absence leaves a series of firsts: the first crop planted without him. The first words spoken by grandbabies, who’ve also taken their first steps.
We’ve celebrated the first Easter without him here (though I imagine how our celebration paled in comparison to his!)
We’ve had the first Father’s Day. And then, of course, there have been birthdays and anniversaries and silly card games and the Fourth of July fireworks, which we watched from his driveway.
Oh, how we miss him!
His absence leaves bare spots in our hearts, exposed places that God heals from the inside out. Those spots ached a lot yesterday.
That’s when I discovered a bare spot in the landscaping bed while pulling weeds near the aspen tree — yesterday morning, on the anniversary of Paul’s home-going.
Two bare places needed tending — one in my landscaping, one in our hearts.
I asked friends on Facebook and Twitter for advice: “The girls and I are planting a perennial in the landscape today in his honor. Any suggestions?”
They suggested bleeding hearts and butterfly bushes, an evergreen or a “Big Daddy Hosta” for the big daddy we’d lost. My sweet friend Pat suggested “Boppies,” (aka poppies) in honor of Bop.
One friend said this: “You’ll know the right plant when you see it.”
And we knew.
There amidst the colorful display of rudbeckia and daisies and Russian sage at the Quarry Landscape center, the girls and I tarried over a clump of unadorned plants that, to them, looked more like broccoli than a perennial. Yet it seemed just right to all three of us when we read the name on the tag.
We brought it home and planted “joy” in the bare spot next to rocks and blooming yarrow.
It doesn’t look like much now, this clump of “Autumn Joy Sedum.” (Can you even find it in the picture below?) But in the fall, at the end of its seasonal life, this plant will bloom most beautifully, long after the other blooms fade.
This fall, when farmers begin to shear the fields, joy will bloom in a spot that was bare.
You bloomed beautifully, Paul, bringing color to our lives. Your absence still hurts. But we are grateful to God for tending to the bare spot in our hearts. We know your bloom never fades in the eternal springtime of Home.
Final photo: Lydia and Anna dropping petals and blooms on the bare spots of Bop’s gravesite.
Like summer blooms, memories fade, especially for young ones. Our girls are ages 7 and 5. What do you do to keep memories vibrant?