Friday, February 19, 2010

When Lavender isn't enough

There is one thing that lavender can't do. It can't mend an aching heart when someone you love dies.

It can make things smell better. It can help with little things like headaches, and cuts and burns. It can be a peace offering. It can help with sleeping. All that is good. But sometimes it's just not enough.

I realized that over the last few weeks and especially, today; let me explain.

Using social media in business can help us keep in touch with loved ones. The people we love spend at least 40 hours a week working, and why would we want to be left out of that part of their lives? Some of my family members have signed on as friends, or get blog posts, or tweets. I love that they comment from time to time on my posts and pictures. I love following their own businesses and daily lives. At the farm we send out a monthly email newsletter to folks who sign up for it. Some of my family members have signed up. In the course of responsible use of this medium we have to mange the list of people and sometimes we have to adjust the address or take it off if someone asks. We send out email newsletters about once a month or less, usually. I just sent one out this morning.

Later this afternoon, I was spreading fertilizer and lime in the lavender fields with a spreader attached to the PTO of my tractor (so cool!), and I realized that the email I'd sent out went to my sister-in-law's email address. But she won't be reading that ever again, because she died a couple of weeks ago. I'd forgotten that her email address was still active on my list. I felt horribly guilty for having forgotten to take her email off the list.

I've been walking around somewhat in a fog because of the grief her death represents, if someone asks me about it and I start to tell them, I choke up. This is normal, I know, but it's more intense than when my Dad died a year ago at the age of 83. Sally was 42. My brother is 43. I love them both and their three young children. Taking her name off my email list was yet another reminder that she is gone. Her bright smile and sparkling eyes will never gaze at me again. She'll never write "Hey, Sistah Sal" to me again. Being in her kitchen helping out after the funeral, was just plain strange without her turning from the stove, waving a spoon, and laughing at something we just said.

As much as I love lavender and enjoy it's scent and effects and the pure joy of growing it, the knot in my stomach and the tears that come unbidden have muted the pleasure I normally would have every day as I walk a few steps away to work. Until that passes, I have to run on memory. I remember lavender is a delight, that growing it is a pleasure, and that making things with it is fun and a creative outlet. Luckily, I have folks who remind me, and people how are coming to the farm who have that appreciation tell me how much they enjoy it. They remind me every day of the sheer joy in things that smell good, that are impressive to see, that bring peace.

It is peace that the priest commended her to last Wednesday, Feb. 10. May that be true and I pray that she is smiling & laughing at the antics of her kids, my brother, her Mom & Dad, her sister and her family, me, my sister, and the rest of the 1,000 people who came to say goodbye to her. And, maybe there is a whiff of lavender there for her, too.



I'm so sorry that I found your blog only at this very rough time for you. I saw a post to Facebook and followed it to your blog.

Grief is such a lonely thing. Other people may grieve at the same time, but your grief is yours and you are alone in it. That's the hardest part... the loneliness.

Just keep walking your beautiful lavender fields and smelling the magic aroma and remember that your sister-in-law loved it too and was happy that you have those fields.

I'm sure she is walking with you. (BTW now I have tears in my eyes too)

Joe said...

I'm sorry for what you are going through, and totally understand. I have had 3 dear friends and family die in past few months, and I still mourn in my heart their loss.
I too, am working on my lavender farm, and experiencing that tinge of heart pain and clouded eyes of tears as I think about what will not be with them gone. Memories are gifts that stay with us here left behind. I am reminded of the words that one of the Hospice nurses said after she acknowledged the passing of 1 of our loved ones: "Looks like she made it". I continue to work through the pain of loss trying to focus on that truth-They are in a better place.

Best to you, your family, and your farm,
Joe Orcutt
Hood River Lavender

Sarah said...

Thanks Coneflower & Joe, for your kind words. I believe it's through sharing at some level that we join together as humans. My best to you.