Deep Roots and Grief

I had a wonderful weekend so far.

But tonight I have bad news.

On Friday I met up with my friend MJ and haven’t gone to lunch with her in ages…and I mean AGES…so it was so nice to steal a few hours away from our worlds to meet up.  We had such good thai food and a cup of ice cream, but more importantly we got to vent about our lives, laugh about it and brush it off to face our lives again.  That’s why you need friends.  They are your therapy when you can’t afford to pay for one from a psychiatrist.  They are your mini-vacation when you can’t afford to take a trip somewhere out of your reality.  They are the comic relief that you need to make life worthwhile.

Today, I had a nice morning stretching with my dog (she has great stretch poses, how do you think “Downward Facing Dog” in yoga was created? ).  Rolled out the yoga mat and stretched out my body, I have such a kink in my shoulders.  Sky joined me. 🙂

I managed to write a blog post on the sermon given at the Royal Wedding and then I went upstairs to find I had a missed call from my sister-in-law, Bobby’s sister Lisa.  I called her back from my home phone and she said little Bobby accidentally called me!  🙂 I was delighted to know he did!  We got to chit chat a little as she fed the kids dinner.  It was nice to hear her voice, and it was so cute to hear the kids say hi Aunty Landa! Love it!  It made my day!

I continued my day by calling my friend Eunice to ask her when we are meeting up to go to the movies tomorrow and we got into a long discussion about so many things.  We’ve always been like that, you get on the phone to ask a question and three hours later your like…whoa, we’re still talking! 🙂  I even managed to cook my furikake friend chicken while talking to her.  Yup, I finished cooking our dinner while on the phone, awesome!  Josh was so impressed.

After dinner, I took Sky for a mini walk to the mail boxes and then came back and decided to pull weeds from the garden and do some trimming.  Josh and I have discussed “moving” our garden so that we could actually see it!  It’s on the side of the house and it sucks that we can’t look at it every day.  So as I was chopping away, and chop I did, I decided to see how hard it would be to uproot one red ginger plant that we planted (we have about 6 or 7 plants).  I cleared some weeds, leaves and ferns out of the way before exposing the plant’s roots.

Who knew gardening could be so fricken spiritual.  There I was sweating like a beast, gloves on my hands, shears in one hand wishing I had a pick or shovel.  I dug with my puny shears, trying to be careful not to damaged the roots.  But the roots were dug in DEEP.  Seriously…the more I dug and pulled, nothing budged.  The smaller roots broke, but the thick ones were so stubborn I was grunting and swearing as I pulled and pulled.

As I worked to dig around the plant flashes of memory played in my mind: my dad laboring in his small plot of dirt outside my kitchen window, another memory of when I was a child as my dad played with the small plot of soil at our old house, seeing earth worms as they wiggled around and how they freaked me out.  Remembering him telling me they are good for the earth, harmless to humans, but needed in the soil.  I didn’t believe him.  Yet, as I tend to my own garden now, all those words he said, those lessons burn in my mind.  I believe him now.

When I thought I exposed enough of the roots I stood up and pulled.  Was I that weak that I couldn’t pull up these damn roots?  Or am I underestimating how deep the roots have buried themselves in the soil.

Then I thought about family.  Can you imagine being torn from your family, like a plant uprooted from the soil, exposed to the elements that could kill it if not entrenched with the nutrients of the soil?  I thought of how deep the roots were in my family.  How no matter if we sever parts of the roots, they would still grow back as long as they had soil, water and sunlight.

I thought about friendship.  How it barely took a year for the roots of my red ginger plant to hold fast to the ground.  Josh and I didn’t think it would survive it’s first planting, in the heat of the August sun in Ewa Beach where it is as dry as bone sometimes.  But the winter was generous enough to bring us lots of rain, so much rain that the roots took root so deep I can barely get them out now.  Friendship is like that. Sometimes it takes but a moment to know who you will be close friends with and to undo a friendship would take the effort I was exerting to uproot my own stubborn plant.  Sometimes the roots of friendship go so deep, even if I starved the plant like I have done so in the past month with barely any watering, it would still bear blossoms, weak though the stalks may be, there is still flowers.

By the time I realized I could not pry it lose from the earth without a big shovel and more strength or more time spent sitting on the ground digging and feeling my sweat drip from my brow to the earth itself, I had earned quite a respect for the plant that I thought I was dying.  It was not dead at all, though it was dry on top.  I then called Josh who pulled with all his strength to pry one part of it lose, breaking it from the main root.  He said it was impossible, we needed the right tools.  He’s right.  I need a pick and a shovel and a wide-brimmed hat!  Tomorrow he will buy these things since he’s excited about the project.

What I learned from gardening today is that I am my father’s daughter.  There is something about digging the earth and thanking the plant for it’s beauty and life that fill my heart with joy.  I can not really explain it.  It’s the farmer in me…it’s been in both sides of my family for generations.  They are keepers of the earth.  Respectful always of what land can give and provide for you.  I learned that from watching my father tend his crop and my mother tend to her flowers.  I am their daughter.  I know I can grow flowers, except my 2 flowers died when I was tending to Nani-Girl’s care when she was dying 😦   But we will move the red ginger so I can see them every time I open the door and I’m excited about that.

After my gardening and working up a sweat, Josh and I continued watching Spartacus Season 1 on dvd.  We are weaning it out slowly but we are hooked!  It was a nice night as Josh gave me a shoulder massage, much needed and we lounged together on the couch and then later I made cookies and we munched on that as we finished two or was it three episodes in a row!

I was about to end my night after walking Nani-Girl outside but I got on Facebook and saw a note saying RIP Erlyn.

Rest in peace…so she now rests in peace.  It’s a tragedy that still leaves me in confusion.  Why did this whole event have to occur?  Why did it happen the way it did?  Why did a life have to be lost?  Why do our families have to go through pain after pain?

I heard someone say on t.v. that grief is the price you pay for love.  And because her family loved her very much, their grief will be deep.  I grieve for her family that lost a daughter, a sister, her son who lost a mother.  It’s so tragic.  I never knew her.  I never had a chance to really know her but people tell me she was a good girl, she was a good mother, she was a good person.  She is free from pain and suffering now.  The pain and suffering, unfortunately, now belongs to the ones that loved her.

I once talked about how some roads you take in life will be the hardest because you walk it alone.  When I grieved for Bobby, I felt that way.  I knew other’s grieved, but I couldn’t see past the haze of my own pain.  It’s a lonely road.  No one can turn off the switch in you and say okay, you are done grieving now.  It doesn’t work that way.  I wish!  It’s difficult.  Some people grieve openly, some don’t at all.  My heart aches for her father, her mother, her sister, and her son.  But she had aunts as well, cousins, uncles, friends…

The roots are deep.

And pain can be deep rooted as well.  Pain can root so deep that it can choke the life of the people that harbor it.  It is important to grieve, important to cry and wail, important to feel sad and angry, important to feel all the pain, important even to let yourself heal…like any wound, it will one day heal…the length of time though is different for everyone.

One day when I felt like I needed help and was at rock bottom, I went to the book store and perused the section about grieving.  I found a book, bought it and read it cover to cover.  It was a book that reminded me that other people went through what I went through and I wasn’t alone.  That thought comforted me enough to get me through many hard days and nights.

I was not alone.

I pray for my cousin and her family.  Their loss is so great.  But the roots of our family is deep, our love extends to one another through every root, branch, stem and blossom….

A plant is a beautiful thing.  It needs a foundation.  It needs soil with nutrients and rain and sunlight from above.  In a sense the stalks that grow from the roots, is a different root altogether reaching for the heavens.  The roots that are in the ground hidden from view until uncovered by a stubborn gardener flourishes in rich dark earth.  The results of these roots are strong stalks and stems of flowers that are beautiful to behold, always reaching for sunshine, always searching for water.  We are the result of our roots.

The roots are deep.

Where there is death of one blossom, another awaits to bloom and live…life is a gift.

Thank you God for the time you give us with the people we love on this Earth.

Thank you for the beauty of nature and the roots you help us create with the world and people around us.

The roots are deep and the roots are strong.  
We will get through this tragedy.

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