Angel On My Shoulder

My daughter, Justine was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder when she was a teenager. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s a mental illness and it used to be called “Manic-Depression”. Both labels fit Justine. She would go through phases where she was on top of the world, getting great jobs, new vehicles, great houses with built-in pools and feeling wonderful. It was so great to see her doing so well because we had been through very difficult times in her life where everything would go wrong for her. She made completely different choices for herself when she was in each phase.

She knew and accepted that this was her life and after trying dozens of different medications and years of psychiatric and psychological care she found the right medication and doctor. She really disliked taking medication because she said she didn’t feel like “herself” when on it. She had stopped seeing a psychologist when she became an adult (age 18) because she adored her psychologist she had as a teenager and found it overwhelming to start all over again with a stranger. She didn’t like telling her “story” over and over again because she had to re-live it each time. The medication helped but it did not cure her of her disorder.

Justine had 3 tattoos. I’m not a big fan of tattoos and I told my daughters to to really think about how permanent they are and to choose something that is about them if they ever decided to get one. She really did heed my advice. She had one on her wrist with “Brooks” written on it. The other two were tiny little ones on the back of each shoulder. One was an angel and one was a devil. They were like the TV shows where the angel would whisper the right thing to do in one ear while the devil would tell the wrong thing in the other ear. She was always struggling with making the right decision depending on her mood and her tattoos suited her perfectly!

When I decided to make a memorial garden this summer I really wanted to include a fancy designer Daylily. We have a glorious Daylily farm near where I live called “We’re In the Hayfield Now”. It’s a funny name but as the story goes a couple of guys, who were partners in life, moved from the city and bought a farm. The one guy propagated day lilies and they are absolutely stunning! The farm takes your breath away seeing acres of gorgeous lilies in bloom. Sadly the one partner died and now the surviving one runs the farm. I looked online to see which flower I wanted for Justine’s garden and there it was! It’s called “Angel On My Shoulder”! How PERFECT! The theme is”Angels” and it’s a memorial garden so “Angel on my shoulder” has a duel meaning.

I bought it a couple of days ago and planted it yesterday. I had to dig up a very large bunch of orange lilies (ditch lilies, as my mom calls them) that had been in the previous garden. Now it looks so beautiful! There are still more orange lilies to dig up but the new garden is really starting to take shape. The plan was to scatter her ashes there this summer but I’m having a very hard time actually setting a date for that. So for now, I will concentrate on making the garden as beautiful as possible with all the generous donations from friends and family too. It’s keeping me busy and I have a focus this summer and it makes me happy.

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