As we approach February, I look out my kitchen window and see something that has caught my eye. It is a rose bush in bloom. This bush has been blooming throughout the winter. I first noticed it around Christmas time. Hmmm, peculiar. It’s never bloomed in the past. Yes, I live in Las Vegas but it has definitely been cold here – some nights, dipping down into the thirties. So, what is up with this crazy rose bush?
To me, it is a sign. A sign that my father is looking down and pleased with my life. You see, he used to grow roses as a hobby. He had a huge rose garden that he tended every spring and summer. I would watch him lovingly tend to those roses. He enjoyed buying new and unusual hybrids. Looking at that rose bush makes me think of him.
In 1988, he took his own life. I don’t know why and for years, I suffered with the memory of it. He died on my wedding anniversary. Fast forward twenty-five years later. I divorced my husband and found myself starting over; quite literally. I had nothing and ended up going bankrupt. My father had left me a substantial amount of money when he died, but I had used it to support my family. I didn’t squander it but I also allowed myself to be manipulated into using it. I often wondered what my dad would have said; I was certain he would have been ashamed of me – much in the way I felt.
Four years have passed since my divorce and I have met a wonderful man, someone I am certain my father would have approved of. I look at that bush. I no longer think that my father is ashamed of me but proud. Proud of the way I have rebuilt my life. Proud of the courage to stand tall in the face of despair. Proud of my using my gifts to teach special-needs children. Proud of my strength and courage. Proud of my four children and seven grandchildren.
Life goes on. That rosebush is a reminder to me that my father is close. I believe he is looking down from heaven and sending me a sign. He is with me. He is proud of me. Most of all, he loves me. I love you too, Dad! Thank you for the roses!