bwisegardening

Cultivating a Culture of Gardening™

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Tie That Binds

I sat outside the hospital door with my head in my hands sobbing. The cries of pain were still racking my mind and at 3 am at the LosAngeles Children's hospital there were few options for places to escape the searing wails of agony. I felt the soft hand on my shoulder and heard, "Are you alright?" The last thing these busy night nurses needed was for this grandmother to be falling apart on them. All I could get out was, "There is so much pain... so much pain... " and I pointed to our room. The nurse peeked in and saw my restless but quiet year and a half old grandson; he had finally quieted down after nearly an hour of painful screams as the anesthesia had started to wear off from his surgery and before the morphine and other pain meds took effect. She looked a little confused and once again gently responded, "Aiden seems to have calmed down; we'll keep on schedule with the pain medicine for another 24 hours. Aiden is really doing well."
Yes, thankfully, Aiden's surgery had gone well and I knew that going through the pain was a part of the recovery to his new health. What this kind nurse did not realize was that the cries of pain coming from the young boy sharing our room were more the source of my emotional meltdown. In the hours that that we had shared this room I learned that the 13 yr old boy 3 feet and a thin curtain away has cancer. He had come in to find out what was causing his severe headaches that had him up throughout the night screaming for his mother to hold him, to take the pain away, to even "hurt my feet so I won't feel my head!". So much pain and so little hope for this young boy. So much pain and such agonizing helplessness for the parents. The tears I shed were not my own; my tears were the ones that the parents had no time to shed on this long long evening. There is a sharing of suffering that bonds humanity if we allow ourselves to hear and embrace the agony of others, a sharing that brings compassion rather than impatience, a desire to help rather than judge.
So "why are you writing about all this in a gardening blog?" some may ask. Gardening has often been a good tool for teaching life skills, especially in parenting. Lessons in nurturing and pruning come to mind immediately. But what adheres this post in my gardening sphere is that the bond that unites gardeners is on a less intense scale very similar to that bond that unites parents and grandparents. There is a joy in creating a garden, a family; there is a suffering and heartache in growing a garden, a family. My children are often puzzled by my quickly formed friendships within the internet gardening world. Through blogs, tweets, e-mails, and phone calls my gardening friends have shared my disappointment over lost crops (the May 1, 2010 flood), have advised on pest or growing issues, have sent seeds and soil amendment samples, have agonized over the loss of a heirloom rose. There is a sharing of suffering that bonds humanity if we allow ourselves to hear and embrace the agony of others, a sharing that brings compassion rather than impatience, a desire to help rather than judge.
The tie that binds me to the family that shared our hospital room is a kindred chord to the tie that binds me to my gardening world. Sometimes all we can do is weep for others; but the time comes when we can do more. That is the time to sow the seeds of service, to grow a row of kindness, to harvest the bond of friendship.
Aiden with Momma Alex 3 days after spinal surgery. Aiden was born with Spina Bifida.

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2 Comments:

At August 17, 2010 at 6:54 PM , Blogger That Bloomin' Garden said...

Thanks for sharing. Wishing a speedy recovery for Aiden. What a heartfelt post.

 
At September 2, 2010 at 7:04 AM , Blogger Commonweeder said...

You are wise indeed. It takes strength to be a mother and a grandmother - something we can learn in the garden. Love to you all.

 

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