Tuesday, May 4, 2010

burying my heart in the garden

She spoke very broken English through a thick Italian accent, much like the many backyard vegetable growers who frequent the greenhouse, except I was sitting in my office when she approached me. Sure enough she was a gardener looking to reserve a plot in the campus garden. She wanted to grow beans, and mentioned beans between every sentence.
It's happened a number of times - people are being directed to me for information on the campus garden. Most people still associate me with the garden, so I've been getting a lot of calls and emails. I don't mind; they're easy enough to redirect. I do enjoy interacting with the gardeners.

She was nice enough (actually, very understanding and compliant) when I explained to her that I am not coordinating the garden this year. I wrote down the name of who she's looking for, building, office number, phone, and explained to her how to get there. Thankfully she seems to know her way around campus, so I was able to use the library as a reference point. She thanked me, all the while continuing to talk about growing beans and some other simple veggies, how she just wants a little space, how she lives in an apartment now, and more about the beans.

She began to walk out the door, but then turned back around and said, "you lost a little baby eh", looking at me sympathetically. "I was here last week and someone told me you were away, you were sick, they didn't know when you would be back because you lost a little baby eh." I kind of choked, and nodded. I could tell by her tone she certainly wasn't meaning any disrespect. "I didn't upset you did I", she asked, but before I could answer she continued on, "My daughter lost three little babies - me two, but she has one now, and I have three children - all grown - but I lost two, and my daughter, she lost three little babies."
I just sat there, probably looking kind of stunned. What she was saying didn't make me tear up, which was strange - everything these days makes me tear. I wasn't offended by her frankness either, but I think that was because between every breath she sighed a sad "aw", and shook her head in a mournful kind of way. She went on to tell me what a pretty girl I am, "so young, so pretty" she said a few times, "you'll have another little baby soon." Then she left.
The entire time she was in my office she was speaking or sighing, either about the beans, the garden, the little baby, her daughter, herself, and about me and our baby.

It's been twenty eight days since we lost our precious baby. When we first learned of the pregnancy I became so distracted with joy that I couldn't think of anything else. It was February, and though I would normally be kicking off garden planning in high gear then, I couldn't think of anything else but what was going on inside me. Looking forward to a summer of cute baby belly relaxing in our garden, and tending our new small veggie bed was about all I could manage.
I kept wanting to write posts about gardening during pregnancy but was holding off until the news made to everyone. Then I went through weeks of being too sick with morning/all day sickness to read a book or look at a computer screen any longer than I had to. By the time I beginning to feel up to writing again it was too late.

The grief for this loss has been overwhelming - more than any other loss. All the dreams and possibilities wrapped up in this tiny human become too heartbreaking to think of.

We've decided on planting Lady's Mantle or Alchemilla mollis for our baby; the same plant I planted in memory of Lisa when she passed away. I'm not generally fond of imitating a previous memorial plant, but in this case I can't think of any plant better suited.
As it's name suggests some sort of chemistry,  it was/is used in many ways as an herbal remedy - mostly to heal bleeding disorders, even more specifically to female bleeding disorders. (Though it shouldn't be used during pregnancy!)
I think it's beautiful. It's an unassuming plant, low growing, and somewhat clumping in form. It has soft, fuzzy, 7 to 9 lobed star-like shaped foliage that famously collect morning's dew and raindrops. Right now I feel like all those droplets could take the place of all the tears we've cried.
The flowers are really small and bloom in clusters on top of tall stems - a yellow, almost limey-yellow - which look simply amazing on a rainy day.

The plant has been designated "Little Magical One" in lore. Medieval alchemists are known to have used the droplets of water that collected on the leaves in all kinds of "mystical potions" because it was thought that the plant could increase any existing magical powers (usually specific to healing).

I think it offers a lot in memory of our Little Magical One...and I think we could definitely use a little healing.

Baby M would have been born in October. Both the calendula and cosmos are recognized as October's birth flower, so I will plant a few of each this year (and every year). They'll go nice in the vegetable bed, and in pots around the garden. It breaks my heart that we find ourselves in this place - I don't want to plant a memory of this oh so special little baby. 

Precious Baby M, 01.30.2010 - 04.08.2010

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