When I was little, I would visit my Grandmother Romney.  I loved her back yard.  There was a lot of grass and because its side yard backed into a hill, there was a rock garden. She had large rocks supporting the hill with smaller rocks and all sorts of plants tucked away.  I liked looking for the different plants and flowers “hidden” among the rough rocks.

I thought about that experience when I read a quote by Sean Leary.  He was comforting a friend whose spouse had died. He had lost his girlfriend in an accident a few years before:

“Your grief is this giant gaping hole with sharp edges … as you move forward in life the edges soften and other beautiful things start to grow around it. Flowers and trees of experiences. The hole never goes away, but it becomes gentler and sort of a garden in your soul, a place you can visit when you want to be near your love …. Just hold on. It gets better and you’re not alone.”

I have found comfort in that visual image.  I felt gutted, thrown against sharp rocks when my husband died.  Over the last 19 months, flowers have started to grow.  In my mind’s eye, I pick roses and irises, because my husband loves those.  I throw in some of my favorites: pansies, lilacs, tulips, hollyhocks, succulents and daisies.  The edges are smoothing and instead of seeing and feeling those sharp, painful rocks, I see beautiful plants and flowers, a place I can go to visit my love.  Just hold on.  It gets better and you are not alone.

–Karen McCandless