I have often called my mother the constant gardener of our family because for three generations she not only selflessly tried to protect the cherished flowers that grew within her garden, but she did everything she could to keep the evil or dark clouds from threatening or tainting the garden they grew in. For my mother it was simply not enough just to protect her son, her grandson, and her great granddaughter from all sorts of evils or harm, but to ensure their childhood was not tainted by anything that might steal their childhood. My mother believed that a child’s childhood was as sacrosanct as the child’s life itself and she lived her life with the thought that this was her most important purpose and would often say in her later years I do not know what is going to happen to my girl, her great granddaughter Kitara, when I am gone. As if to say who is going to pick up the mantel and be that constant gardener. This mindset made her voraciously protective of all the children in her family even though she knew she could not protect us all from everything. Some would argue that she was overprotective, and she would respond to them by saying something like that is because those who should be playing a larger role in protecting are not doing enough. My mother always had an opinion and was never afraid use it, but she was also a perpetual worrier and these two things coupled with an often unflinching honesty is what often caused her to have short periods of conflict with different members of her family at different times, but at the same she never ever stop loving any member of her family and occasionally some family members would seek out that honesty because if they had a problem or needed an answer to something they knew my mother would deliver the truth no matter the cost.
I remember my father saying to my mother once, “You need to get that Catholic horseshit out of your head about always telling the truth Theresa and learn when to shut up” and true to form my mother always had an answer for him when he said stuff like this. Most who knew my father would certainly have thought it would be wiser to utilize a different approach because dealing with my father once his anger was rising could be the equivalent of dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight, but my mother would do something that very few others would ever dream of doing with my father and that was to lean into him even more. My mother’s inner strength and will were qualities my father not only respected, but truly loved about her and that coupled with my mother’s unrelenting love for him even when he was not deserving of it is why their relationship survived a lifetime of trials and tribulation. I asked my mother long after my father passed why she fell in love with him and stuck with him all those years when I knew most women would not have and she said I fell in love with the broken little boy in him and I knew at some point that no matter how much or how strongly I loved him that I could never fix the broken little boy in him, but that still did not keep me from trying. Today I miss the broken little boy and the man so much that it feels as if there is a piece of me missing. My mother then said many, even those closest to us, will never understand mine and your father’s relationship, but that was because no one ever knew your father like I knew your father because I am the only one that ever got past his guard and actually saw the broken little boy.
My mother was very special and unique in too many ways to mention and all of you sitting here know that already, but beyond those things mentioned above her capacity to love those close to her was without limitation and even those times when she did not talk to a family member for one reason or another she never stopped loving them or thinking about them. Those rare few times I remember when she was not communicating with a brother or sister for one reason or another were by far among the most painful times in her life because nobody valued the ties that bind more than my mother, the constant gardener. I remember her looking at the old picture of the four Bone children in a row during one of those times and saying the Bone children must find their way back to each other because whether we choose to recognize it or not all we ever had was each other. It is how we survived, it is how we endured, it was how we got on down the road in life, and it is how we were able to turn the page on some of the most painful chapters in our lives. My mother understood the value of family on a deeper level than many even realized and that is why even in her waning years she worked tirelessly to stay in touch with all of you while occasionally giving me hell for not doing so. My mother loved you all more than you could even imagine and whether you realize it or not you were all an important part of our constant gardeners most glorious garden.
A celebration of life tribute piece for my loving mother, our family’s constant gardener, who passed away of COVID related illness at 8:30 PM on October 15, 2021.