He loved planting. He loved watering the flowers. He just loved being active outside and I loved watching him immerse himself in the upkeep of his house and watching him learn. He even bought this little lighthouse (that now lights up my front porch) from Cracker Barrel for decoration in his garden.
The summer, that was upon us, held so much promise...or so we thought. Who knew, at the time of this picture, we would only have Noah Dean just a few more months.
A few months ago we came up with the idea of doing some type of garden in my backyard as a quiet, peaceful place to be able to sit, reflect, enjoy and even to cry. We didn't really know where it would be or what it would look like and I was still so hesitant about doing anything in my backyard so we just held onto the idea till we knew what to do.
As we prepare for Noah's headstone to be put in place and as the holiday decorations have come and gone, we took some of the older items from his gravesite home with us. Those things were given in such love and I spent many moments gazing at those items, with so many feelings, as they adorned Noah's final resting place, so we were not quite sure what to do with them once we got them home. Something else we just held onto till we knew what to do.
On Noah Dean's birthday, one of my good friends, Buffie Simerly gave me a beautiful white hydrangea in his memory and we just recently planted it. And then everything just came together for a little memorial for Noah. The idea of a garden and the items from the gravesite, both of which we had held on to, and then the hydrangea.
Noah LOVED my dad and LOVED that my dad gave him matchbox cars and a few dollars every now and then so he could buy, for himself, the candy I would hardly ever allow him to have. I brought some of those home to relive the joy he felt when he received something as simple a few dollars and a couple cars.
Last spring Noah and I attended the Chik Fil La Mother/Son Knight Event. He presented me with a Spider Mum. We took it home, put it in a vase and he was so proud of it. That flower was so beautiful and seemed to last forever.
Each Sunday our church has flowers at the altar that families can purchase to remember or honor a loved one. I do this for Noah on his birthday and for July 4. I chose this past Sunday for ours since the Sunday before the church was decorated in July 4 decorations. I didn't make a request for any type of arrangement and to my surprise it was full of Spider Mums and yellow roses (one of Haleigh Raye's favorites.) I took them to the cemetery and brought a few home for us to remember yet another memory.
For so long I couldn't even walk in my backyard without being emotionally overwhelmed by so many memories. From seeing Noah run around as a baby, to closing my eyes and hearing him say, "I can swing myself, Mommy" to his last days of watching him ride his bike around the house over and over...and over and over...thinking those endless summer nights would never end....
I can still look out there and see him now and if I try hard enough and let myself go there, I can see AND hear him...at the same time. A precious privilege I took for granted.
This memorial is not right in the middle of the backyard and is not always in plain view. It's off to the side. Just like his memory is to me. Not always seen...but he is always there...just off to the side.
So, what better place, then my own backyard, Noah's own backyard, to have a small memorial place for him where I can relive so many memories of days gone by and where new memories are bittersweetly being made.