“I want to see my Lucy rose,” he said, as we took a turn around the grass edged patio, and then walked behind the pool cage to the shell drive at the far end of the yard.
My beloved father-in-law is fighting the battle of his life. The meds keep him comfortable while his indomitable spirit urges him on. This morning he wanted to walk outside in the fresh air. While he put on his crocs, I quickly sandaled my own feet, took his hand, and helped him down the steps.
“Why is it called a Lucy rose?” I asked, as we shuffled together slowly toward the flower I’d never seen before.
“Lucy’s mother gave her this rose bush. Lucy gave me a clipping and I planted it here. On the first birthday after she died, it was completely covered in roses. It never bloomed on her birthday again.”
Lucy. The second of the Bee Ridge Girls to pass away. My mother-in-law still meets regularly with all her best friends from high school—the remaining four women from the Bee Ridge neighborhood she once lived in. When Lucy died, the girls met together for dinner and played a Country Western song they promised to listen to in the absence of a regular memorial service. They laughed and remembered the tiny, spunky redhead whose hairstyle long ago became a waist length gray braid, while “Prop Me Up Beside The Jukebox If I Die” played in the background.
Still hand in hand, I walked Dad back to the house, helped him up the steps, and watched as he eased into his favorite blue chair in the corner of the sun room. In a heartbeat he was asleep. Resting. Dreaming. Fighting.
And the Lucy rose swayed in the breeze.