Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ellie's Tulips

Twice a week, while Max is at therapy, I go to Ellie's spot. Most days, I'm not sad when I'm there. It's incredibly peaceful and so beautiful. When we were looking for a place to lay Ellie, we visited several cemeteries, and it was obvious that if we had to pick a place, this was the best.
It's a memorial garden, so there are no monument type headstones, just lots of trees, hills and flowers left for loved ones. In the distance, you can hear the hum of the freeway and every so often a plane flies right over head, on it's way to the airport. It's a little space of peace and quiet in the city. It's so serene and when the breezes come through, wind chimes in the nearby tree sing.
 During the week, there are always workers milling around, keeping the grounds beautiful. Everyday at noon, the bells play a little song, a lullaby. The secretary and manager, know my name and recognize my face. The manager knows exactly where Ellie is buried. They gladly look the other way when parents decorate their child's spot with more than what's allowed. They look past the items hanging in trees, decorations stuck around their space. They are so respectful of each person's space.
Today I was in the office, picking out the vase that will accompany Ellie's headstone. The manager asked me if I was bothered that Ellie's spot wasn't sodded yet. Her headstone will sit right over her casket, so sodding isn't really necessary... I sheepishly said, "no... I kinda planted tulips there... and they are blooming now..." I know we aren't really supposed to do that- but these tulips are important. He just smiled and nodded. He could tell they were important to me. And they are...

On Sunday, October 17th at 10:15 am, we were arriving at a local nursery, so we could pick out pumpkins. We had no idea that exactly one week later, Ellie would be headed down a path from which there is no return- Elle and I would be on our way to hospital in the back of an ambulance...
We met my mom and nephew there and strolled through the pumpkins. Afterward, we went inside and Ellie played in the straw while Max and Evan walked through the straw maze. It was a wonderful morning. It was a tradition we'd started when Max was born. Who knows if I'll be able to go back again this year...
As Dave, my mom and the boys weighed the pumpkins, I carried my girl over to the flower bulbs. I told Ellie, we were going to plant some tulips next weekend before it got cold. And then they would come up in the spring. I stood close to the shelf and told her to pick one. She reached out her chubby little hand and tightly grabbed a bag of tulip bulbs, purple tulips.

Ellie and I didn't plant tulips that next weekend....

It wasn't until a couple weeks after we said goodbye to our Peanut, that I noticed the bags of bulbs sitting on the bench in the garage. They nearly killed me. I decided to take the bulbs that Ellie picked out and plant them around her spot. So one day before our first big, huge snowfall, Max, my mom and Aunt Kerri, went to the cemetery to plant the bulbs. I put them around the outside of her dirt and up against the pine tree next to her spot. And that's where they stayed the whole long, cold and lonely winter.
As the earth thawed and things started to turn green again, I waited for the tulips. All of the tulips in our neighborhood and those in the landscaping at the cemetery, came up. But not Ellie's. I had pretty much decided they hadn't survived the winter. Figures, I thought.
And then when our family arrived out there on Easter, there they were... just barely peeking up out of the ground. I guess until now, I never really saw how amazing it was that they came up on Easter. The tulips Ellie picked out with her two little hands, one week before she died, made their appearance on Easter.
 Since then, they have been growing straight and steady. I told Ellie not to let anything eat them until Mama saw them. I told her to growl at the bunnies and deer if she needed to. And my girl has done a good job of keeping her flowers looking beautiful so that her Mama could see them.
I wish I could say that they make me happy. I guess in some sense they do. Ellie wanted those flowers, we picked them together. But those flowers shouldn't be there. Those beautiful purple tulips should be on the side of our house, half eaten by bunnies. They shouldn't be at a cemetery. They shouldn't be planted over Ellie's body. They should be sitting in a vase on our table. I should be holding Ellie up to them and reminding her how she picked them out and how we planted them in the fall.
 When Ellie and I picked them out, they were a promise for the future. After a cold winter, in the new life of spring, they would appear. Renewal. But now, they represent what we've lost. They represent what we had.

The tulips are beautiful. They are beautiful like our little girl.


Natasha said...

I love Ellie's tulips- they are so beautiful!!! Purple is my favorite color :) Wow Tiffany that cemetery really is beautiful......such a sweet place to rest. I am so glad the people that work there are so sweet to you.

I love Ellie's little Halloween outfit! That headband is tooo cute!!!!

Love you as always my friend.....and love Ellie's pictures as always :)


LauraJane said...

Such a beautiful story Tiffany, I wish those tulips were beside your house of course.

Wonderful the tulips arose at Easter, a little sign to let you know she's still here.

Deanna said...

I too wish the tulips were at your home. Thank you for sharing your story of Ellie choosing those flowers. She did well, they are absolutely beautiful, just like her :)
Thinking of you, sweetheart. ((hugs))

B. Wilson said...

Those are absolutely gorgeous.

New Year Mum said...

Sorry about my slow commenting this past week.... those are such beautiful tulips that you found with Ellie and are now blossoming with her love. I love your story about finding them with her... those memories must be so painful. My heart always goes out to you... and love that you have such a beautiful place to be with her. Love to you both always xoxo

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