My mother has been gone for 35 years, but her favorite wildflowers--tiger lilies--bloom before my eyes for long spells every summer.
The summer after her death, I had lifted up a few bulbs from her own lily garden and transplanted them at my own home, and they were happy there. They flourished with just a little bit of help from me, and the lily garden spread a bit each year.
In 1993, when we built the home in which Bob and I now live, I brought a few of the lilies that had begun with Mom at her own home. I didn't expect them to grow as well, considering our valley's days of open sun are shorter than at the flowers' previous two homes. Yet the lilies have seemed even happier here in the valley.
I now have an expansive garden of those wild lilies. They light up my summer in a broad space beside our garden house, and they seem to last much longer than their brethren that grow so prolifically along our northeast Ohio roadsides.
Each September on Mom's birthday, I have quietly taken a rose to her tombstone. Now it dawns on me that I should also visit her grave in July and leave a tiger lily bloom.
She did love those lilies, and my own lily garden originated from her own.
And after all, a tiger lily (and my garden full of them), seem to me to be a better memorial than the slab of marble that bears her name in the cemetery in which she is interred.