It was a hot, humid, August day in Wisconsin when I encountered the sunflower miracle. If you haven’t yet read the miracle message, you must start here. Why? Well, because you will understand the significance of this sunflower if you visit that particular blog post first. So, please stop reading and visit it by clicking here.
Welcome back. Now that you are aware of the rock garden created in memory of my beloved Aunt, you will understand the significance of the sunflower.
Over Christmas break, my son announced his engagement and shared that he and his bride- to- be would be married in the summer and then move to the West coast; specifically Oregon. I was excited and deflated in the same moment. A wedding! Hurray! They are moving far away… Oh nooo! No more Sunday dinners, game nights, walks through the Ice Age Trail and laundry visits. The kids will be gone. I had already missed my older son and fiancé on the East coast, now the younger, would be trekking West. The thought made my heart hurt. I was proud that they were making adult choices in their lives but sad the chapter of geographical closeness was over.
The planning, creating, favor making, and sunflower planting began. The couple chose to plant a sunflower garden at the bride’s home as the wedding would be held at her parent’s meticulous landscaped yard in Minnesota. Moonwalker, Fun in the sun, One thousand suns, Mammoth and Radiance varieties were planted. I painted 145 terra cotta pots to go along the sunflower theme and packed them with tiny burlap bags filled with seeds. As the day grew closer, the anticipation of excitement grew and so did the anticipation of loss. As any parent can attest, the letting go isn’t always the easiest task. Thoughts begin to crowd the mind. “Will they be okay? What will they do? Where will they live? When will we see them again? Oregon is so far away.” And so, the praying began. ..
The beautiful August day finally arrived. Early in the morning my husband and the bride’s father along with some very special helpers (my super strong nephew) moved potted gallons of soaring sunflowers around the yard to create the magic that was soon to happen. They built an arbor and flanked them with sunflowers to create the perfect setting. My sister and I wrapped each pot in burlap and tied them with jute.
The day was magical. I walked my son down the grassy isle flanked with white wooden seats filled with friends and family. I hugged him and told him how much I loved him before he stood for his bride. The scene was magnificent. It looked like something out of a bride magazine: sunflowers, a beautiful wedding party dressed in greens and blues and a couple whose love is palpable. My daughter-in-law floated down the aisle with tears in her eyes and I could feel the love she had for my son. My heart swelled. I tried desperately to enjoy the day and live in the moment, knowing that very night they would drive literally out of our lives. At the end of the evening we were all whisked over to create a bridge over the couple with sparklers. Arm-in-arm they giggled and ran under the overpass of sparkling light into the car. As the car eased up the driveway, I could feel my legs buckle and my heart ache with deep sadness. Let’s just say the tears freely flowed. I wept.
After a sleepless night in the hotel we packed the car, and headed back to Wisconsin. The dialogue between my husband and I was pretty quiet. We downloaded an MP3 off our church website and listened to our pastor preach a few sermons to help focus our mind. (We often do this on long car rides and I highly recommend) because before we knew it we had arrived home. As we pulled the car into the garage the heaviness of the loss surrounded me like a heavy cloak. I walked onto the deck and stretched my back and legs from the trip. It was then I saw it.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Two days ago this was not in my Aunt’s rock garden. And I did NOT plant it! Whoa! I called my husband over to come quick. My husband came running at the sound of my urgent call and his mouth turned up in a grin. “Well, well… would you look at that?” He wrapped his arm around my shoulder as we stood looking at the perfectly open sunflower in the garden. The tears flowed again. This time healing tears. Tears of great joy as I knew God was with them wherever the kids went and He would take care of them. (Along with our angel: Aunt Jenny who loved my son so very much).
Did you think this was the end of the miracle? I received a message when the newly married couple arrived in Oregon. “Mom! You won’t believe this! We passed 23 sunflower FIELDS on our way to Oregon! We couldn’t believe it! We counted each one! Not only that but the campgrounds we landed at seemed to have sunflowers planted everywhere?”
I looked to the heavens and smiled.