Even the Stones Will Cry Out
After Ella died, we created a sanctuary garden off the northwest corner of our front porch. B and the boys built a pergola and we stained it a whitish color. We shopped for different green plants and flowers to put in our garden: plantation lillies, ivy plants, begonias, impatiens, daisies, zinnias, marigolds, ‘Knock-Out Roses”, blue delphiniums, white and purple angelonia, English lavendar. We also wanted to put something that would grow and vine up over the pergola. I was so drawn to this one particular flower when we were shopping at the plant nursery for flowers to include in Ella’s sanctuary garden. We looked at all kinds of beautiful viners but I kept going back to the passion flower vines. I finally chose a dark reddish-purple passion flower. After the flower bed and the vine were all planted and settled, I’d sit every afternoon on the porch swing, grateful for the shade that the pergola gave us, to wait and watch for Ella’s new sanctuary garden to grow. I spent a lot of time on my porch that spring and summer. It was mind-blowing to me how hard it was to be inside my own house for those first few weeks after Ella left us. The house felt so hollow. I don’t say ‘empty’ because its virtually impossible for a household of 13 (now ‘only’ 12 since she died) to feel empty. I say ‘hollow’ because her absence left a void, a hole. It just felt hollow.
One morning while I was sitting outside, I noticed there was a new flower about to blossom. I watched and waited for it eagerly. That whole week, I checked on it in the morning at my mom’s and my coffee break (around 9 or 10 each day), at our water break (around 3 or 4pm) and in the late evening after B and the kids and me finished supper, but the flower opened up overnight when I wasn’t looking. That next day, I couldn’t stop staring at the brand new ‘baby’ flower. I was amazed at the fact that there was something growing in my garden. ON PURPOSE. That I put there. And not just weeds!
When I went out for my last ‘porch break’ that evening, something new struck me about the flower. At the very top of the ‘insides’ of the flower, you can see 3 structures branching out in a triangle shape. Those reminded me of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Just below them is the ‘white ball’ from where the ‘Trinity’ grows; it looks a little like a pearl. At first, I thought of the Blessed Mother when I saw it, since she said “yes” to the Father, gave birth to the Son, from whom proceeded the Holy Ghost. Then I learned that Ella’s birthstone (June) was the pearl. She was our ‘pearl of great price’. Now, the ‘white ball’ reminds me of both of them, haha. Just below that are five more structures branching out in different directions. This reminded me of the 5 wounds of Christ on the Cross. If you look, you can see the crown of thorns just below that. The petals of the flower usually number between 11-12, one for each of the Apostles.
This time, it wasn’t the stones that were crying out and declaring his glory, but instead, it was a beautiful, dark reddish-purple passionflower. I now understood WHY the passion flower was called the PASSION flower. I also understood why I had been so drawn to that particular flower when we were shopping at the plant nursery for flowers to include in Ella’s sanctuary garden. Ella lived out her Passion, united to Christ’s, every day of her life. Her physical suffering, while not as extreme or violent as Jesus’s, were nonetheless agony for her. It was agony for us to watch, as well. We, her parents, had our hearts ‘pierced by many swords, just as Simeon foretold to the Blessed Mother. My girl never read the Bible, but she knew her Lord. She never spoke a word, but ‘her flower,’ instead of a stone, cried out to and taught us about where we came from and where we’re going; about love, suffering and dying; about acceptance of and submission to His Perfect Will. Our Ella was a perfect, precious, tiny, living example of Our Lord’s Passion.
The passion flower we planted also reminded us of the renewed life that came after the Passion. A few days after the blooms appeared, we noticed caterpillars eating the leaves. A few weeks after they arrived, we starting seeing the cocoons and then soon after we were in the middle of a butterfly-boom! From the flower that reminded us of Ella and her own passion now came beautiful reminders of the abundant life that we received from Our Lord’s Resurrection!
Easter is hard for me, since 4 of our 5 losses happened around either Lent or Easter. This morning, Easter morning, I’m reflecting on the only Easter I was able to share with my girl, Easter 2015, when I was VERY pregnant with her. Last night, was the first time in AGES that I was able to make it through an Easter Vigil service and NOT cry my eyes out. This year Easter feels different for me. For the first time in a very, very long time, I feel able to focus on the JOY of the occasion! I even got an unbelievable ‘butterfly’ from my babies during the Easter services this year, but thats a very special story that I’ve decided to keep private and share just between my fellow ‘ugly shoe’ momas and me. This year, I think I can finally focus, as the Blessed Mother did, on the promise made by her Divine Son: “They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” (MT 17:23) I’ve lived my Good Fridays, each time we lost and each time we buried one of our sweet babies. I’m still in my Somber Saturday, but for the first time in over a decade, I feel just a little closer to the joy of Easter Sunday than the sorrow and pain of Good Friday. I can see the cocoons and butterflies on my passion flower vine.
I know that not all of you are there yet. I know that some of you are still in the throes of your Good Friday sufferings. My heart hurts for you, my friends. In many ways, I am always there with you. After all, we’re never far from our babies that way. My prayer for you this Easter, no matter where you are in your own passion, is that God would give you the graces to persevere through your Good Fridays, and the patience to wait through your Somber Saturday, as you await the glory of the reunions we will all experience with our little ones on our Resurrection Sunday. With many wishes for Easter love and blessings to all of you….