Monday, December 19, 2011

Taking comfort in the Christmas rose

The world is upside down today.  I should have known when I looked out my kitchen window this morning and saw a red fox looking up at an eight point buck, right there together.  What were they thinking?  The blurry picture I took after hastily grabbing my camera doesn't really say.

Yesterday at about this time, I was puzzling over the fact that our church was about to take down the most beautiful poinsettia tree we've ever had.  Our flower guild had spent a fortune on it, and it was up for one day, and that was it.  I was just sick over it.  I hate wasting money, especially in this great time of need, and if we'd only known maybe three weeks sooner, we could have canceled the order and not spent the money.  That all seemed so important yesterday.

But today my head is spinning with deep sorrow.  I am devastated over the loss this morning of my friend Rosa Haynes.  Rosa turned sixty-six Saturday before last, the day after she was taken to the ICU with pneumonia.  She worked all her life cleaning people's homes, although she wasn't as big as a minute.  The instant she walked in, you felt her good cheer and her concern, always for you, and never complaining of her own chronic illness and meager finances.

Rosa was quiet and had great dignity, with never a drop of self pity or resentment for her own lot in life.  She loved animals, and they loved her.  My late pit bull rescue always knew when it was Thursday.  He took up a position at the upstairs window well before Rosa was due to come.  Then, he would go wild with joy when he saw her car top the hill of the driveway.  Helen Fraser, another employer, said that her cat Tomato would have nothing to do with anyone, but adored Rosa, and Rosa adored him.  Helen had been set to take Tomato for a visit when Rosa went to the hospital.  Instead, Helen sent her a tuft of Tomato's fur so she could feel close to him.

Last week, garden designer Marcia Yeager gave me the generous gift of a new Christmas rose, Helleborus niger 'HGC Jacob'.  This morning I went out wandering around, looking at the bird feeders which Rosa had filled so many times over the years and thinking how much she loved flowers, even though she had no place to grow any for herself.

Remembering Marcia's gift, I walked around to the other side of the house to discover that the white buds on the hellebore had opened up.  I dusted off some flecks of mud I'd likely splashed on the plant when I'd watered it.  For some reason this flower brought me some comfort, its face looking out on the chilly morning.

For you, Rosa, heaven will be a place where you'll have your own home with a yard full of flowers and a house filled with dogs and cats.  You'll have your own hummingbird feeder, and, like you did here,  you'll delight when a woodpecker lands on the side of a hickory tree outside the window.  You'll be able to watch over your beloved son and daughter and grandchildren, and there won't be any financial worries.  And maybe best of all, it will be a place where cars never, ever need new tires or break down and leave you stranded on a busy road.

Missing you always, dear Rosa.  You made the world a better place and were such an inspiration to so many, though you were way too humble to ever know it.