It was autumn 2013 and when my husband asked what I wanted to do for our anniversary, I said I wanted to go to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. We had moved from Houston to Dallas in 2008 and I still had not been there and that autumn day was the crisp blue skies kind that would make for a perfect anniversary outing.
But there was another reason I wanted such an outing. It had been less than five months since my sister and brother-in-law were killed in a car crash. Life had been devastatingly sad and intensely solemn and I knew what I needed. I needed beauty around me. I needed fields of flowers and walkways and arbors all covered and lined with beautiful flowers. I needed to be reminded that life could feel good again. I needed to breathe in the goodness of the Lord in giant gulps of a perfect autumn day and that is exactly what God gave me.
We paid at the gate as the Dallas Arboretum opened for the day and then we headed down the entry walkway and I knew instantly, I would be overtaken with the beauty around me. Thoughts of my sister and her husband slipped far away for the hours we spent at the arboretum. The gardens insulated me from grief and for those hours I could fully enjoy my husband and the beautiful scenes around us.
Randy surprised me. I could tell he enjoyed it as much as I did, or almost. I wondered if he would just go along because he knew it meant a lot to me but it didn’t take long to see how much he was also enjoying our perfect day.
I texted our daughters in the late afternoon that we were still there and having a great time and they both texted back, “You are still there–with Dad??” He enjoys attending football games, running and hiking, and yet he had spent a morning and all afternoon walking with me through multiple gardens and massive fields of flowers.
We enjoyed our lunch on a terrace overlooking White Rock Lake and while enjoying sandwiches and sipping blackberry tea I felt the most peace I had experienced in four and a half months. There was a new energy that began to pulse through my body that told me I could feel normal and strong again and today was the exact place to start down a healing path. What a perfect place to begin to heal from grief. It was waiting for me on a garden path lined with bright orange pumpkins and acres covered with red, pink, and yellow chrysanthemums and trees adorned in shades of autumn gold.