The Rose Garden

Shared by Rhonda St. James on 29th June 2013

Dad resided at The Good Samaritan Society, in Denton,Texas, during, most, of his last six weeks of life. Dad loved to be out-of-doors. He loved the fresh air. He, especially, loved the warm sunshine. As a result, his favorite activity, at Good Sam, was to visit the, sun drenched, Rose Garden.

He loved to be helped out of bed, and into his wheelchair. All, to begin his journey to The Rose Garden. He loved to sit in the sunniest spot. The one with the best view of the roses. On certain days, the roses were covered in busy, honey bees. One day, an, exceptionally, kind bee spent a little time exploring one of Dad's hands. Dad did not mind at all. In fact, the curiosity was mutual. Dad spent a few seconds exploring the kind bee. Dad was at home with the natural. He even made friends with a bright, red cardinal. It seems the bird returned to the Rose Garden a few times, simply, to delight Dad.

Dad savored his time in the garden, as some might a fine, aged wine. I watched him. I held his hand. I sat by his side. There was no place I would have rather been. As he warmed himself in the sun, his eyes would close. The sides of his mouth up-turned, slightly, in utter contentment. Nothing of note was spoken. As far as I was concerned, the main event was: We were together. 

In the garden, the wind would gently toss warm breezes through the trees, then wash across Dad's body. He would shutter with a little chill. I would rush to cover his neck with his jacket's collar. A sweet smile, and a knowing nod of his head followed. He always said, "Thank you."  He was that kind of man. A polite, thoughtful man. He made a point of expressing his gratitude. 
 
Dad recalled his mother's favorite flower. It was the Rose. I made sure his room over-looked a mound of rose bushes. His window to the world. It framed bushes heavy with buds, and full-faced blooms, alike. Hot pinks, and crimson hues popped against a backdrop of lush, Kelley-green grass, and deep, deep, green shadows, cast from the large oaks. 

He appreciated his view. He liked his room. He said he had "the best view in the house!". He took it in... over, and over, and over again.  A remarkable characteristic of my father was, the mere fact, that he never lost his "child-like wonder". That innocence was a subtle yet, prominent trait. He was one who marveled, truly marveled, over the simplest of things. For example, he was genuinely in awe of the magnificence of a sunset, the smell of fresh cut clover, even the beauty of a field of sorghum. Over the span of his 81 years, he never grew indifferent to the power within the simple things.

That was the man I called, "Daddy". 

I adored him, and his sweet simplicity. He was a kind man who valued people above things. Everyone, who knew my father, spoke highly of him. I believe he was an extra-ordinary person. I was blessed the day he adopted me, gave me his name, and loved me as his own. -  I will miss him more than words can express.

Share a Story