I love to garden, and have always enjoyed the beauty of Roses in springtime and throughout the summer months. There is nothing as beautiful as a rose when summer comes after a long cold dark winter. Of course in the front of my house, there is little room for flowers but miniature roses are just the thing for such a small space. I love how they remain small but beautiful planted at the feet of my statue of our Lady of Guadalupe.
The tradition of the miniature roses began as I planted my flower garden in May of 2004. My husband Gene surprised me with the gift of a miniature rose bush. He suggested we plant it in front of the house. It’s a very small area right beside the front entrance to our home. It was such a delicate little plant and it fit perfectly into this small space.
As each delicate bloom opened that summer, my husband seemed to delight in plucking one to give to me, when he came home from work. He even began to take an interest in watering it as the summer went by. That spring of 2004 Gene had been especially happy, due to having come through another cancer battle successfully that past winter. We were both delighted when the doctor said they had gotten all of the cancer and there would be no need for further surgery or treatments.
The following March of 2005, all our joy would be quickly dashed when more cancer was discovered in a routine check up. More surgery followed in April of that year, and we were hopeful that once again the cancer would be defeated.
But this time, the cancer spread quite quickly and nothing seemed to slow its course. As if to punctuate the losing battle that spring my beautiful little miniature Rose bush died. I was really not interested much in gardening that summer anyway. It was hard to think of anything but the cancer battle we were in at the time. Gene struggled on, trying his best to be optimistic and for Mothers day; he bought me another Miniature Rose bush to replace the one, which had died. All through the summer the bush remained green but without any sign of a rose. It was late in the month of October, before the first rose blossoms appeared.
By Thanksgiving, Gene’s cancer had spread and was out of control. He rapidly began to decline, and he could no longer work or leave his sick bed.
Early December remained mild, and that beautiful little bush just kept growing and blooming. On December the 9th, Gene entered the hospital for what would be the last time. Through those dark days, the little blooming rose bush, gave me comfort as I returned home each evening from the hospital. On the day before my beloved died, the weather turned cold and dark and the roses began to die. How my heart grieved that next evening as I returned home from the hospital after Gene’s death. The roses were dead and lifeless also. It only further seemed to drive home the thought, that I now must face a life without my beloved.
On the day of my husband’s funeral, we had the first snowstorm of the season. It was icy and snow was coming down so hard, only the hardiest of souls could attend the funeral. Through it all, we felt God’s love and Mercy surrounding us. The 40 or so people, who did attend, remarked how even the graveside services in the snowstorm seemed as if God was surrounding us.
We were amazingly comfortable and warm as we gathered under the tent beside the grave. No one hurried away after the internment. Instead we all
stood around for about 30 minutes hugging and sharing stories and all the mourners were given a Rose in Memory of my beloved.
Later that evening, after all the guest’s and friends had left my home after the funeral dinner, I stood for a time looking out the window at the scene of cold and snow which covered my little flower garden. Gently pressing a Rose from the funeral to my cheek, the tears began to flow. The weight of grief, felt as if it would swallow me up, and I knew that winter had truly arrived.
Winter in my garden and winter in my new stage of life…I was now a widow, and there would be no more Roses of affection from my beloved. I felt hopelessly frozen in that spot at the window, watching the last rays of daylight fade away. The last rays of a memory of life with my beloved had been laid to rest in that snow-covered grave.
As I stood praying and trying to gain control of my emotions, suddenly, the outdoor security light came on. There in my little front garden, was a miniature rose peeking through the snowdrift looking alive and as though it was June and not December. One last rose of summer I like to think God allowed my beloved to give to me.
Today, entering the ninth year of my widowhood, that miniature rosebush still cheers me up each day when I come home all summer long. This past fall was once again a very difficult time and that little struggling rose bush still manages to convey God’s love in the midst of the storms of life. On the anniversary of my husband’s death, it bloomed once again in a snowstorm.