Friday, May 20, 2011

I Remember Lilacs

My grandparents had a huge lilac tree in their backyard. I remember staring out at the tree through the kitchen window, waiting for it to bud and eventually bloom. The tree was a part of late spring/early summer for me for most of my life. My grandparents had moved into that house two weeks before my mother was born. I loved that tree. My grandfather, each year when the tree was in bloom, would cut off a bunch of lilacs to send home with me. There were years that, for whatever reason, the tree had only a couple dozen blooms. My grandmother would grumble, but my grandfather would still cut them for me. He knew how much they meant to me.

In April 2004, my grandfather passed away suddenly. I didn't get any lilacs that year. My grandfather wasn't there to cut them for me, and I wouldn't ask my grandmother if it was okay for me to cut them myself. My grandmother made the decision to put the house on the market, and the house was sold before the end of the following spring.

I miss that bunch of lilacs each year. Sure, I know people who have lilacs in their gardens. Mom and dad have a small lilac tree in their yard. However, for whatever reason, it's just not the same.

One spring, when I was teaching Manitoba, I walked into a teacher's classroom to teach French, and there was a bunch of lilacs siting in a vase on her desk. I asked her where the lilacs had come from, and was informed that a couple students had brought them in. It was the first time I'd really been able to bury my nose in a bunch since before my grandfather died. I inhaled their sweet scent, and tears started to roll down my cheeks. My students asked what was wrong, and I told them about my grandfather and the lilacs, and how much I missed them both.

The next morning I walked into my classroom, and there were several bunches of lilacs on my desk. I was so shocked and touched. Those lilacs meant so much to me. I brought them back to my condo, and held onto them until they were brown and the petals were dropping all over my table. It was actually hard to throw them away.

I still miss my grandparents' tree, and the lilacs each year. I can't smell them without remembering my grandfather, and missing him. The smell causes me physical pain, but I love it anyway.

1 comment:

  1. Some of us do have great memories around lilacs!

    Growing up we had a lilac bush in our yard. I loved the smell each spring and my mother shared the blooms with everyone around. I would watch the bees cover the blossoms and continue to spread the pollen.

    In my adult years, my parents left that home and moved to the same city where I settled. Unfortunately, we can't grow lilacs here as the weather is too hot and the soil has too much clay. Every spring my mother longs for those lilacs as we remember the past together.

    Thanks for sharing your memories about lilacs with us.