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Just Had to Share............

  • Subject: Just Had to Share............
  • From: JMFLIES@aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 15:55:16 EDT

> >They had just celebrated their 39th anniversary in April when Bill went
> >for his annual checkup. Always in perfect health, he was unprepared for
> >what the doctor found. Symptoms Bill had ignored as "old age" led to
> >questions, palpations, more questions, and finally instructions for a
> >battery of tests.
> >"Just to be on the safe side," the doctor said. When Bill took the news
> >home to Constance, she refused to consider that it could be something
> >serious.
> >Fortunately, it was April and the gardens beckoned. There was more than
> >enough work needed to prepare the beds for the coming season, and they
> >threw themselves into the now-familiar yearly routine. They spent their
> >days, as always, surrounded by trays of flowers and bags of mulch,
> >wielding their favorite trowels.
> >As the summer progressed, 30 years of gardening rewarded them with a
> >showplace of color. Benches and swings were placed amid the bounty of
> >flowers, and they spent nearly every evening during the summer relaxing
> >and basking in the beauty.
> >As they worked, Constance began to notice a subtle change in Bill. He
> >seemed to tire more easily, had difficulty rising from his knees, and
> >had little appetite. By the time the test results were in, she was no
> >longer so sure of a good prognosis.
> >When the doctor ushered them into his office, she knew. His demeanor was
> >too professional, too unlike the friend they had known and trusted for
> >so many years. There was no easy way to say it. Bill was dying, with so
> >little hope of curing his illness that it would be kinder to not even
> >try. He had perhaps six months left, time enough to put his house in
> >order, but little time for anything else.
> >They decided he would stay at home, with help from visiting nurses and
> >hospice when the time came. Their children were both far away, one in
> >Oregon and the other in Chicago. They came for extended visits, but with
> >jobs and children, neither could come permanently. So Bill and Constance
> >spent the ending time as they had spent the beginning time, alone
> >together. Only now they had their beloved gardens, a great comfort to
> >them both for that entire summer.
> >By September, Bill was fading fast and they both knew the end was near.
> >For some reason Constance couldn't understand, he seemed to be pushing
> >her to get out more. He urged her to call old friends and have lunch, go
> >shopping, see a movie. She resisted until he became so agitated that she
> >conceded and began making her calls. Everyone was more than willing to
> >accompany her, and she found she did take some comfort in talking over
> >lunch or during the long ride to the mall.
> >Bill passed away peacefully in October, surrounded by his family.
> >Constance was inconsolable. No amount of knowing could have prepared her
> >for the emptiness she felt. Winter descended upon her with a vengeance.
> >Suddenly it seemed dark all the time. Then the holidays came, and she
> >went to Oregon for Thanksgiving and to Chicago for Christmas. The house
> >was cold and empty when she returned. She wasn't quite sure how she
> >could go on, but somehow she did.
> >At long last, it was April again, and with April came the return to
> >longer and warmer days. She would go from window to window looking out
> >at the yard, knowing what needed to be done, but not really caring if
> >she did it or not.
> >Then, one day, she noticed something different about the gardens. They
> >were coming to life sooner than they had in the past. She went out and
> >walked all around and through the beds. It was daffodils. Hundreds and
> >hundreds and hundreds of daffodils. She and Bill had never put many
> >spring plants in their gardens. They so enjoyed the colors of summer
> >that they had only a few spring daffodils and hyacinths scattered here
> >and there.
> >Where did they come from? she wondered as she walked. Not only did the
> >blooms completely encircle each bed, they were also scattered inside,
> >among the still-dormant summer plants. They appeared in groups all over
> >the lawn, and even lined the driveway to the street. They ringed the
> >trees and they lined the foundation of the house. She couldn't believe
> >it. Where on earth had they come from?
> >A few days later she received a call from her attorney. He needed to see
> >her, he said. Could she come to his office that morning? When Constance
> >arrived, he handed her a package with instructions not to open it until
> >she returned home. He gave no other explanation.
> >When she opened the package, there were two smaller packages inside. One
> >was labeled "Open me first." Inside was a video cassette. Suddenly Bill
> >appeared on the screen, talking to her from his favorite chair, dressed
> >not in pajamas but in a sweater and slacks. "My darling Constance," he
> >began, "today is our anniversary, and this is my gift to you."
> >He told her of his love for her. Then he explained the daffodils.
> >"I know these daffodils will be blooming on our anniversary, and will
> >continue to do so forever," Bill said. "I couldn't plant them alone,
> >though." Their many friends had conspired with Bill to get the bulbs
> >planted. They had taken turns last fall getting Constance out of the
> >house for hours at a time so the work could be done.
> >The second package held the memories of all those friends who so
> >generously gave of their time and energies so Bill could give her his
> >final gift. Photographs of everyone came spilling out, images captured
> >forever of them working in the garden, laughing, taking turns snapping
> >pictures and visiting with her beloved husband, who sat bundled in a
> >lawn chair, watching.
> >In the photo Constance framed and put by her bed, Bill is smiling at her
> >and waving his trowel.

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