Gone are the dark, grey days, gone (almost) is the snow. For at least a week already the skies are clear blue. The sun’s rays wake up primula, snow drops and crocuses. I love it! It’s spring, or at least, pre-spring. People meet on the street and their faces reflect the radiance of the day. Not just nature re-awakes but human beings too. Folks are friendlier, stop to talk. My neighbours are out in the garden, snipping this twig, cleaning up that corner. It’s bound to turn cold yet, even snow again, but the promise is real. There is a spring after the winter.
My mother-in-law, Emmi Stamm, went to heaven for spring. At the end of a long winter (literally and figuratively for her), she passed away very suddenly and peacefully at 92 years of age. The village church was full for her funeral. Emmi was a passionate woman in all she did. She loved to farm; to be outside in the field or garden. Her children tell of days out in the mature grain fields, bringing her the sheaves so she could build the stooks; of how she spread the loose hay on the wagon before there were balers, her sturdy legs scratched red from the stalks. She raised seven children in the days before automatic washers, forget about dishwashers. She knew what it was to have little and to have plenty and was generous and gracious in both.
I inherited Emmi’s garden. When I sit beside the snow drops and baby hyacinths with a cup of coffee, I think of her planting them with anticipation. When I pick her raspberries I can taste her jam – and remember that she always shared the berries and the jam with whoever was passing by. She never let someone out of the yard without giving them something; even if it meant she had to cut my tulips to do so – I didn’t always appreciate it then! But I never missed the tulips and learned to be more generous myself.
The folks in the care home miss her, both the personnel and the clients. Everyone that came up to her got a kiss if they didn’t escape first, and were told “I love you!” She was a gracious thankful person to her last day, even if she didn’t remember anyone’s names or faces anymore.
We also miss her, but we’re glad she is released from the prison of her body. It’s spring for Emmi too.