From the Root of Divine Love

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A tidy but wild little row of marigolds grew around my mother’s gravestone this summer. I didn’t plant them. I visit it very rarely, mostly because I live far away from my Michigan hometown and, if I’m being honest, because visiting a stone that says her name is sometimes an unbearable silence. That little row of marigolds was planted by my best friend early in the summer. She was home visiting her family Memorial Day weekend and it’s their tradition to adorn the gravesides of their loved ones with a few spring blooms. This time she just happened to include my mother, and when she had finished planting the flowers she texted me a photo.

It was this quiet, loving gesture of remembrance, her way of saying, “I haven’t forgotten.” It was a way of loving my mother on my behalf in a way that I rarely can.

It was a moment I couldn’t have orchestrated, even if I tried. I stared in disbelief at the picture on my phone. Because what my best friend didn’t know was that earlier that same month, our own SheLoves community was mourning the loss of Michaela Evanow‘s daughter, Florence Marigold. Most of you know Flo’s story and her three-year struggle with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). And you might remember that in the wake of Flo’s death, the SheLoves sisterhood planted photos of marigolds all over social media with messages of love and shared grief for the Evanows. The morning that I planned a stop at the farmer’s market for my own pot of marigolds to plant in Flo’s honor, was the morning my friend sent me that text.

What a big weepy mess I was, seeing that. That wild, vibrant row of marigolds was global sisterhood and the spirits of my mother and sweet Flo blooming right alongside each other, from the root of Divine Love. A small but ordinary miracle, so healing I almost don’t have words.

Those words—miracle, healing—are hard for me to say these days. I clung to them for so long through my mother’s illness. The things I learned to say about what God allows to happen to us and gives us to handle feel toxic to me now, not unlike the cancer that riddled my mother’s body. I want to throw it all out, I want to detox myself of all of it, down to the words I use and the prayers I pray.

But the small, ordinary miracles happen anyway. They spring up when I least expect them, when I have no faith that they exist. Holy medicine for a wounded heart.

And it’s a gentle yet powerful reminder that the ordinary miracles are what we’re called to participate in. There are so many empty causes out there, but we can find ways to connect across inevitable heartbreak and find healing together. We can cultivate a healing theology, through our words and prayers and kind gestures. We can create space for mothers and daughters and sisters to grieve with love and support.headstone

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Bethany Suckrow
I’m a writer and blogger at at bethanysuckrow.com, where I shares both prose and poetry on faith, grace, grief and hope. I am currently working on my first book, a memoir about losing my mother to cancer. My musician-husband, Matt, and I live in transition as we move our life from the Chicago suburbs to Nashville.
Bethany Suckrow
Bethany Suckrow

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