Sunday, June 9, 2013


I tell time by the hydrangea bushes in my back yard. As the leaves green with awakening of spring, I carefully check for the first hint of buds. The days grow longer, lighter; I watch those buds flesh out, puckering into what will become individual blooms in a ball of purple, blue, and white. And I know that when those flower bloom in fullness, it will be June. June: the month I think of as Bumma's Bounty which marks not the anniversary of a passing, but for me celebrates the memory of a special soul.

Other years I've written a lot about how I've marked the month. This year is different. I am remembering her in deed, action, and donation but it's all much more low key. We've put this home on the market and soon hope to move back downtown, where we can be more directly in the city we love, rather than out here on the island. This is a beautiful home, but it was built for many more people, and the two of us rattle around in it, using only one floor except when we are graced with overnight guests.

It's odd having people traipse through the house, considering if they want to buy it. I definitely feel a difference in the vibrations or energy after viewings. There are pictures of our sanctuary on line in the listing, and I know that somewhere, someone is pouring over them the way I pour over online listings for places downtown. I feel a little vulnerable, as if I am living in a fishbowl.

Leaving here is really an ending to the nuclear family we started back in the 80's when bumma moved in with us just before her first grandson was born. We were three generations tucked into a house downtown, and we thrived there. Circumstances changed, and we built this haven on the lake. It was a place of healing for me. It was the place our son launched from the nest. It the family home for brothers, cousins, and other assorted relations. It was my mother's last home on this earth. Those are all tough things to leave. But I've learned that if there is one thing my love and I are good at, it's building a home filled with love.

I've also learned, since that rotten year of 2009, a year that started in hope and ended in stunned recovery, that it is true: memories find their home in the heart, and thus are easily portable. When I forget something small, like where my keys are, or turning off the water after filling the tea kettle, I feel the first panics that this may be a sign of a failing mind. My panic has two branches: the possibility of becoming a burden to those I love the most, and the thought that all those memories of loved ones lost will be really lost for good.

But for now, I tell time by the hydrangeas. They remind me of my mother. Hydrangeas and rosemary (for remembrance) from our garden went with her as the ambulance took her to the hospice. Some of the blossoms and some roses dried from my father's funeral, were cremated with her. The final few, which resided with her ashes (now scattered) are in the care of a dear friend, who will be my surrogate and take them to my father's grave, bringing it all full circle-- just like the circle that is closing with our time here on the island.

I don't think I'll see another springtime in this home by the lake, tucked away on a sea island off the coast of Charleston. But maybe, just maybe, wherever we move, we can plant some hydrangeas. When they bloom, I'll know it's June. I'll feel my mother's embrace.

Earlier posts from previous years of Bumma's Bounty
here and here, though there may be some overlap.


  1. You write so beautifully that it's hard to find suitable words to comment, but I want to make a comment because I want you to know that your words touched me. You're right in everything you say here. All I can do is agree. It's 37 years this year since I lost my mom, and the memories haven't faded at all.

  2. This is lovely. She's smiling at you now! I hope your nest on the island will find another warm and loving family to love it.