Monday, March 18, 2013

Box No. 7

She sleeps, curled tight like a fiddlehead under the faded comforter, long blonde hair barely crowning her pillow. I walk carefully through the dark room, piles of unfinished homework lay in Xerox white puddles on the floor. Soccer cleats poke from her sports bag at odd angles and compete for floor space with a laundry basket and bulging backpack.

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.

57 comments:

  1. Very interesting. I found a metal plate while digging in the garden the other day, but have not found any memory boxes. I would be happy to find one though!

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    1. I'm hoping whoever ends up finding them pieces them all together to learn the story of the family who lived in this house first. :o)

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  2. Oh your poor daughter - migraine is an awful thing - my Dad used to suffer with it and we all had to creep round very quietly so as not to disturb him. The memory box is a great idea - do you accidently dig them up when you are weeding etc. or do you bury them really deeply.

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    1. Once we learned all of her migraine triggers, controlling them has been much easier. I dug up a tin once but reburied it deeper. I dig them down about 6 inches or so.

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  3. I hope that your daughter is feeling much better....she seems to be a trooper...hang in there.
    I like the idea of burying memory boxes...maybe I can bury small time capsules every year end with all the years highlights....you've given me food for thought.

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    1. Thanks! She struggles with chronic headaches but currently has them under control. Her college acceptance was a huge victory considering everything she's been through.

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    2. Congrats to her on her college acceptance, if she is anything like her dear mum, she will continue the fight, and I'm wishing her all the best.

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  4. What a great idea!! How special it will be years from now when someone finds these boxes. I hope your daughter feels better soon. Congrats to her and good luck at the debate!

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    1. Thanks! I will pass that on to her. Her headaches are a chronic problem but she's on the upswing and is a fighter. :o) I plan on living in this house for a long time. I wonder how many there will be when I'm gone? Maybe I should start writing some that are more exciting just to give whoever digs them up a chuckle. ;o)

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  5. Ahhh, Tammy, what a fine idea, and a story well told. Back in the 1990s we placed a time capsule under the new brick porch of our old home, built in 1890. It's possible the curious, the amateur archaeologists will be interested in the boxes, notes, time capsules you, I and others share. What we know for sure is they are meaningful to those of us who leave them.

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    1. I'm fascinated by old houses and the stories they could tell. I love that you left a time capsule. I left a garden at my old house although I heard that it had fallen into neglect. Maybe someday someone will resurrect it and wonder about the gardener who had planted it. :o)

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  6. I love this idea! Like you, we have moved a lot. We've been in our current house for 5 years and are the first Chapter of this home too. I can imagine the owner of the home digging up your boxes and slowly unraveling and discovering the stories that played out in the walls of the home.

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    1. I feel like I've given my house a voice. I think I'm going to start writing little notes about the garden, too. :o)

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  7. What a wonderful idea your boxes are! My partner suffered from horrible migraines,E.R. visits, drug infusion, etc. He still always has drugs with him but the neurologist put him on a regimen of vitamin and herbal suppliments which has been successful at severely reducing the number of occurrences when the drugs are necessary (maybe only once every three months now.) I'd be happy to pass the info on if you think it might be helpful.

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    1. I'd love that info! We finally identified her triggers after changing doctors. It's taken 3 different docs to help solve the puzzle of her headaches but the meds are a must right now. However, I'd love to know about the supplements, too. :o)

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  8. Even if you stayed in your house for many many years and never sold your house, those memories would be treasures. I can imagine an old lady watching grandchildren discover their family history.

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    1. I never thought of how my grandkids might discover those tins! What a cool idea! Now I"m excited all over again! :o)

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  9. Major congrats to your daughter! Love burying the tins. I went back to read "Chapter One." My husband and I write at least our names and date on the inside of each wall we open when renovating and in other little places as we work on our house. While only built in 1971, we think we've already lived here longer than any previous owner.
    I browsed your blog. Why haven't I found your garden sooner? Never mind, I'm here now. Here's to a year of growing...for everyone. All the best for your daughter and may she be happy and well.

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    1. 42 years in a house is a really long time! I love the idea of writing your name on the wall. It's like archaeological graffiti. :o) Thanks so much for the well wishes. :o)

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  10. So glad to hear that your daughter has learned a way to help combat the headaches. Migraines run in my family and I know how intense that pain can be. The tins are lovely. I wish I found something so uplifting when digging in my garden.

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    1. Migraines can be debilitating. Thank God for medicine! Finding tins is much more fun than smashed soda bottles and chip bags. :o)

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  11. I absolutely love you ... no words ... just love.

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  12. Congratulations to your daughter on her acceptance to college. A big achievement, made even bigger by overcoming such a difficult health problem. I know it can be very hard when a parent does not have the ability to make everything alright.

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    1. It is a truly helpless feeling. Fortunately, she has very compassionate teachers who always give her extra time to turn in her work when her migraines strike. They have been lifesavers!

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  13. I am speechless right now. Just seeing my own beans in my mind as I read your post...You have brought tears to my eyes. I will say prayers for your sweet girl. Congrats to her on getting accepted into college! I like the idea of leaving little tins in the garden. What a gift you are leaving in the garden...I would be over the moon if I came across something like that in my garden! It must be therapeutic as well. All the best to your family. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post Tammy.

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    1. I'm so grateful we were able to find a neurologist who could finally help her after being given some bad advice by a previous doctor. When he helped us figure out what was causing the headaches and prescribed really effective medication, I just burst into tears. A child's pain is the parents pain, too. I was so relieved. :o)

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  14. Congratulations to your daughter, wishing her well! What a beautiful idea about the tins... on a side note, your writing is both beautiful and breathtaking! Cheers~

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    1. Thanks! I just love the little tins of memories. Ideas to write about chew on me a bit before I start writing. I try to write exactly as I see things in my mind. I do a lot of editing!

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  15. Children are messages we send to a time we will never see.

    How simple and beautiful your written, hidden, buried updates along the way are. What a gift they'll be when they are found by someone.

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    1. I really love that first thought. It's so completely true. I hope whoever finds the tins enjoys them. :o)

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  16. I have heard from acquaintances how absolutely awful migraines are. Best wishes to your daughter, and good on her, congratulations!

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    1. I will pass that along. :o) Migraine are beastly things.

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  17. Tammy, for some reason I'm afraid to bury the memory of the events.
    I think that because this memory will be lost and forgotten.
    I remember everything, even what should be forgotten.
    Congratulations Laura with admission to college!

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    1. Thanks! Sometimes memories fade and I want to capture them while they are fresh. Some memories I don't want to remember, either.

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  18. Bittersweet telling of your daughters pain and joy. Send my congratulations on her acceptance to college!

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  19. Leaving notes is a lovely idea. I will do it in the next house. The only notes I've left up to now have been when I was a nursing student. We were required to "live in" and hospital cleaning staff cleaned our "cells'. We suspected them of going through our things so left outrageous notes, of the soap opera genre, crumpled up in easy to find places. I hope they enjoyed them. Loving thoughts to your daughter.

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    1. I wish I could have read your notes! They must have been hysterical! Sometimes I collect notes from my students and the "juicy" ones are always the best. :o)

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  20. What a fabulous idea! I may have to put a tin or two in my garden now! I hope your daughter is feeling much better. My sister gets migraines - it is devastating.

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    1. I like knowing I have a bag full of tins waiting for me. So many memories to save! :o) My daughters migraine meds have been a life saver - literally!

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  21. What a clever idea. I love your creativity. Someone, someday is going to be very pleased.

    I'm so sorry about your daughter's migraines. I used to get them all the time. Horrible, horrible things. I would wish for someone to kill me so I could be free of my agony. Once I called the paramedics, hoping the could give me a shot to dull the pain. They wouldn't. I would have to go to the hospital and I couldn't move off the couch. Another time, while vacationing, it would hurt to breathe. I kept trying to relax and then I would stop breathing and wake up and the pain would be a hundred times worse.... Sorry. I'm droning on and on. I hope your daughter improves. Congrats for her collegiate victory!

    And thanks for the interesting twist on gardening--planting memories. Literally!

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    1. Planting memories... I hadn't thought of it like that but that's exactly what I'm doing. :o) Migraines are pure evil. It's so hard to see her suffer. I'm hoping they eventually just go away.

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  22. I suffer with migraines and know what a triumph she has made for herself. This idea of the tins is wonderful and full of history, preserving your story in such a lovely way.

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    1. Do you have specific triggers? Some of my daughters triggers are controllable and others aren't. It's pretty frustrating. She's learned to be a tough cookie at a young age. :o)

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  23. Someday someone will unearth your buried treasures that are more precious than gold! Lovely post Tammy! And so nicely written! My husband gets bad headaches when his blood sugar spikes. They can be quite debilitating, so I can almost imagine what your daughter must have to cope with.

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I once had a stress induced occular migraine that cut off part of my vision and had to pretend like nothing was wrong so my students wouldn't freak out. It was pretty weird. I know what your husband is dealing with. Misery!

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  24. Congratulations to both, your son and daughter :-), but as a mother, I would worry about the army-medic position :-(. Did you mean to write CMU (Carnegie-Melon University)? If not, sorry for the question but what is CNU?

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    1. I do worry about my son but I try not to think about it. He really loves the military. CNU stands for Christopher Newport University.

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  25. I love your idea of saving memories in such a unique way. I would like to do that. Thank you for the idea! It's obvious how much you cherish your family, and I was touched by your post. Congratulations to your children on their accomplishments and to you too!

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    1. Thanks! Cherish is a great word for how much I love my family. :o) They're keepers.

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  26. What a great way to cherish these great milestones of our loved ones. Hope your daughter's predicament improves with time.

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    1. Thanks! I hope they aren't a permanent problem, too.

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  27. Congratulations to your daughter on her college admittance!

    I'm so sorry to hear about her migraines. My grandfather used to get them, and my husband gets them if he's around cigarette smoke or even drinks a glass of wine.

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    1. Thanks! No wine?? Ay carraba! That's rough! Cigarettes give me headaches, too.

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  28. Sorry about your daughter's migraines. I'm glad she's feeling better and congratulations on her college acceptance letter (brings back memories). Leaving notes around the garden for the next owners to find sounds like a fantastic Easter Egg hunt! Will you tell the next owners they exist? Will you let them know how many there are? I'm just imagining them bringing in a digger to make sure they've found every last one and to get to the bottom of the story.

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  29. Your prose is magical ... you MUST write a book.

    Sue
    xo

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