Garden of Roses

I wrote this poem in 1996. In 1995 my 30-year-old step-mom died. She had a non-life-threatening heart condition and went in for surgery. She never came out. I didn’t live with her at the time or with my dad, her husband. I was states away, but it was impactful and humbling, in the way that only death can be. I was fourteen years old. Her only son, 10.

Death is strange. We think we have forever to live, especially when young, and at one moment our entire world can change. Then we, the living, are left to realize how short and fragile life really is.

If I’m honest, I didn’t care much for my step-mom and I am sure the feeling was mutual. But after her death, and some age – my life has surpassed hers by 11 years – I understand how young she truly was. I see that she wasn’t given a rose garden life, but she was doing the best with what she had. Isn’t that what we all are doing? This realization allows us to have a little more patience, a little more grace, and a little more love.

We aren’t promised forever. And we were never promised a garden of roses. But while we’re here, let’s do the best with what we’ve been given.

Sending my love,


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