The Year the Tulips Bloomed Victorious


  Tulip planting 2

Tulip planting1

Last fall, in a cold shadow, we planted defiance. I was so angry at death. So angry again at cancer. So tired of funerals. I gathered my children in our front garden bed and I made a promise that even I wasn't sure was a good idea. 

Here's what we're going to do. We're going to take all these tulip bulbs--90 for the ninety years that Granddad lived--and we're going to bury them in the cold ground. In the spring, around Easter, they will bloom. In the spring, we are going to feel so much better than we do now and those new tulips will make us smile.



For twenty-four years, I've had a love-hate-fear relationshp with tulips. For the first fifteen years after my cancer diagnosis, I refused to plant them. Then, I decided that we are overcomers. We are tulip planters. Ever since, we've planted bulbs. 

This year, we went all in. They were planted too shallowly, planted by a not-quite-five-year-old. No doubt, some were planted upside down. I didn't go back and replant them. I didn't overturn the imperfect planting technique, didn't give in to my familiar need to control all things. I just let them be. It was a very harsh winter. Very cold and very snowy well into late March. Every once in awhile I would rehearse what I was going to say to my children when they asked why "Granddad's tulips" didn't bloom.

The shoots first started poking above the ground the week that Shawn died. That was, incidentally, the week adenovirus moved into my house for an extended stay. I texted my friend Nicole and asked what would come of them if we had snow again (we did). Surely, we hadn't buried deeply enough. Hadn't done it right. Surely, we were going to be denied the bright promise of hope and healing. She said they'd be fine. I doubted. She owns a landscaping company. I own fear. 



Spring came late.

All the flowers, all the flowering trees, the bluebells at Bull Run. They all came late. 

Easter came late.

And Lucy Shawn came late.

The whole world responded with a giant Alleluia!

It's April 29. There are tulips. And there is abundant life. 


 {We have an appointment for Nick and Karoline today at the eye specialist. Adenovirus lives on. Prayers, please?}