Make it Beautiful

The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing
 Isaiah 51:3

The dream felt real to me. The garden grew up around us, scarlet rhododendrons and sunshine yellow daffodils pushing their way through the cracks in the pavement beneath our feet. I breathed in the flowery fragrances of the blooms, marveling at the spring-like abundance so late in the autumn.

I felt a light touch on my arm and smiled at my husband. His image was wavy, translucent. "You did this," he said and waved his hand at the abundance around us. His silver wedding ring--nestled in my jewelry box for the last 15 months--gleamed in the sun.

"I'm no gardener," I said and shook my head. "Everyone knows I make plants die."

Ron smiled gently. "Yes, you are. You've made beauty for me, for the kids, for your students, for your readers. You've taken what was hard and painful and made something beautiful from it." He stamped a strong foot onto the pavement. "You've done what very few people could do."
I took a deep breath. "I did what I had to do."

Ron took my hand. His hair, fully gray the last time I saw him in his casket, was the blue-black of his twenties. "That's just it. You didn't have to." His voice became a gentle whisper. "I know how awful it was, how exhausting."

"For both of us," I said. I noticed that his form was beginning to fade, the lovely blossoms of my garden clearly visible through his frame. "Stay," I said softly.

"I can't," he said. "If I was here," and he turned his head, taking in the abundance around us, "none of this would have happened. I just wanted to tell you, well, I knew you'd be okay. When I had to leave, I knew you'd make a new and wonderful life for yourself. I knew you'd help the kids to move on." He plucked a single pink rose from a bush thar had sprung up next to him. No thorn pricked his hand. He held it beneath his nose for a moment, his clear lungs breathing in the fragrance. "It's your turn now," he said and handed the rose to me.
I took it and touched its velvety petals. "It's lovely," I said.

"Just as your life will be," Ron said. "Your long life. You have lots to do." He blew a kiss towards me. "I'm so proud of you." He melted into the garden.

And I held onto the rose, breathing in the heady fragrance of my husband's love.

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