Brushing her hair from her face, I whisper quietly to her. "How are you feeling?" I ask but the question hangs suspended, before collapsing onto the comforter to quietly slide off and join the chaos on the floor. I pull the covers aside and climb into bed with her, her long body turning to clutch mine. Hot tears stream from her face and the silence tells all. The migraine claws through her brain and nothing is helping. She is almost 18 but is a sobbing infant in my arms and I soothe her as I have done so often.
I kiss her wet cheeks and continue to whisper. The neurologist has urged her to go straight to the Emergency Room and she needs to get up. We ignore the homework, projects, and debate topics. I help her stand and dig for her sunglasses. I brush aside worries of grades and college entrance and head for the hospital.
I stand just outside her door and watch her. Sunlight streams through the foyer windows and the dogs lay like clock arms to soak up the warmth. She sits on her bed surrounded by books and paper. The brightness of the room illuminates the mess like a floodlight. "Don't stay in here all day!" I gently harass her. "You're turning into a mushroom." Eyes focused on her laptop she laughs and keeps typing. "I have so much work to do! I'll be okay, Mom. You can stop staring at me now." She smiles and I relax.
Tugging on my boots I head out into the garden, surprise snow crunching underfoot. Soft mulch and soil give way under the trowel's pointed edge and lay piled to the side, a small hole opening near the Rose of Sharon. I slide a plastic wrapped tin into the hole, burying it in the garden. Someday some one will find all the memories I've buried in the garden and will learn the story of this family. There once a woman who taught and gardened, a man who worked and traveled, a boy who marched away with the Army and a girl who, quite simply, refused to give up.
I started burying small tins in the garden almost two years ago. I only bury a few a year to mark significant events or emotions. My daughter struggles with chronic headaches, especially migraines, and her college acceptance was a very emotional victory. The post Chapter One describes why I started writing little notes and leaving them in the garden.