“You are my sunshine” (Grieving my dead relatives, continued)


So, it’s that time of year again; when the anniversary of the day a relative died rolls around and you try to remember without being too sad.

This is my mother. At the time this picture was taken, she was a sister, a daughter. At the time this picture was taken, she was not yet a wife, a mother.

She was graduating from high school then, and her life was ahead of her. Too soon, it was over.

My husband took me for a ride a few days after she died with no particular destination in mind. We ended up at a local market with an attached greenhouse. As I walked around the store clutching my Kleenex, I was drawn to some colorful plants that my husband told me were primroses. For a moment, I actually felt happy looking at the little faces of the flowers, so on impulse I purchased one. I took it home and placed it on the little shelf above my kitchen sink.

Every time I looked at it, I remembered my mother’s death with a pang that was then tempered with a little bit of calm. In the spring, my husband planted it in the back yard.

Each year that followed, I brought home another little primrose plant and in the spring we planted it outside. Over time, all of these plants thrived and soon, without specifically intending to do so, I’d created an entire garden of  primroses, which became sort of a tribute to my mother. I was very sad to leave it behind when we moved.

This year when I was browsing at Trader Joe’s I spotted some primroses which (of course) immediately evoked thoughts of my mother, so I bought one. This spring I intend to plant it in my kitchen herb garden to revive my mother’s tribute garden from years past.

I chose yellow for the first plant because when I was growing up, she bought me an outfit that I refused to wear: yellow pants and a yellow shirt. “Who wears that color pants?” I complained. She ended up returning the outfit which I wouldn’t  have been caught dead wearing. Years later though, I recall this incident and wonder, “Why couldn’t I just wear it? Give her what she wanted?”

It’s ironic that yellow is now my favorite color.

Also, “You Are My Sunshine” was a song she loved and sang to us frequently when we were kids.

She died on leap day, February 29. We joked afterward that she chose that day purposely, so we would only have to feel sad about the day she died once every years. She was nice like that. 🙂


2 thoughts on ““You are my sunshine” (Grieving my dead relatives, continued)

  1. A very touching post. Every February 11th I celebrate my Grandmothers birthday, because for some reason I have blocked the date of her death from my mind. In memory of her we always serve homemade perogies and cheese pie for dinner that day. We all do what we need to get by, don’t we.

    1. That’s lovely! I do something similar for my dad (there’s an upcoming post about this!)…my mother’s birthday is March 13…I do celebrate (and contemplate!) this as well. 🙂

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