When I returned home, I knew I had to do something with my grief. I could not be a physical help to Linda since we now lived in different countries. We did continue our email relationship soon after his death, but I could not be there physically for her. I could not make her soup, or come and do her laundry, or anything practical. I wanted to do something, so I decided to plant tulips. With each bulb, I planted and prayed for all of them. In the following spring, the tulips came up, and I prayed some more. They gave me joy every spring when they came up and I remembered Fr. Steve and Linda and their love for each other and the gifts that love gave to those who knew them. I recalled my little conversations with Steve and remembered what a gift he was to us all in Seminary. All too soon the tulips would wither especially if the spring was too hot. I did live in that home ten more springs, and each spring brought me memories of Fr. Steve, Linda and the children. I have since moved from that home, but I always carry them in my heart.
I know that Tulips are not indigenous plants to North America. I did not consider that at the time. I am not calling on folks to plant invasive plants that will destroy the ecosystem as we know it or as it should be. What I am saying is that we can plant, as an act of memorialization for loved ones lost to us through death. It need not be in the place where they rest. It need not be something we pay lots of money for. It needs to be from the heart. It needs to be something for us to remember that person, a reminder that they are still a part of our life, even in death