My mum died from cancer when I was 18 years old. Overnight she slipped away, and our family of five became a family of four. After all the waiting, it was over, and there was nothing to do but slowly start to find our way through the dark.
I remember the first Mothers’ Day. There was nowhere to turn from the painful, pink promotional posters and cards, dangling from store ceilings like spinning daggers. Distraction was impossible. The shouting ads on radio and TV persisted for weeks, instructing me to, “Make Mum feel special, buy this now! And book here! Two for one! Bring the kids too!”
Somehow I moved through it, travelling and eventually finishing university with a story about her called Tulips, after her favourite flowers. Mum was an avid gardener. We laid her to rest under a claret ash in the garden she loved, and the trees there… at Dad’s place, I realise I say now… have grown tall and majestic.
Over the years I wandered, missing her terribly. Then one day I began to dream about planting trees for Mums. I took solace in imagining a huge parkland, where people could come and plant a tree for their Mum, or bring their Mum on a picnic. On a whim last year, I googled Trees for Mums, and found many others shared that dream. It was already a national event! It happens around Australia on Mothers’ Day, for any group who wants to organise one in their local area.
Stellar Violets held a local Trees for Mums event last year, planting persimmon and walnut trees along the verge of 21 Middlesex Rd. About fifteen community members came, friends, strangers, Mums and Dads (they brought the kids too!). Afterward, we shared a delicious morning tea. My heart just about burst with happiness that morning and for hours and days to follow. A painful day had become my most precious and meaningful day of the year. It felt profoundly good.
Today I ignore the meaningless consumerism and marketing calls. I’m pleased to announce Stellar Violets will host another event this year on Sunday May 11 2014, planting the verge at 757 Middlesex Road, near Manjimup. Laura Bolitho and Christian de Hahn were so inspired by our verge and Trees for Mums last year that they’ve offered up their verge, along with some funds and a little gumption, for this year’s event.
All are welcome to come and give a hand planting this site with trees, or even just watch, chat, and enjoy the atmosphere, from 9am ’til noon. BYO thermos, picnic rug and a plate to share for morning tea if you wish. After all, a cup of tea always tastes better when drunk outdoors!
Let us plant and beautify our districts and public spaces, and let the verges themselves become majestic parklands to honour and celebrate our Mums, their love, and the beauty they create in the world. Happy Mothers’ Day? Yes indeed.