Memories of My Father Laid Bare

I want to lose the pain and shadows that still haunt me.

Cindy Heath
The Memoirist

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The author’s photo of her father, herself, and her older brother on their Alaskan homestead circa 1958.

May is the month my father was born, and thoughts of him linger like a whisper through the boughs of the fir trees in the forest near my garden. When I kneel in the soil, my heart softens, and my soul reflects on deeper things. I’d rather think of his birth than illness, slow decline, and then death—at least for now.

Today, my mind wanders to another long-ago garden where my sister and I were paid to weed the vegetables for my mother’s friend, Betty.

I still see the plants heavy with zucchini and flowers neatly arranged around the edges. I remember the buttery taste of the homemade oatmeal raisin cookies she gave us when we finished our work. Her husband, Tony, was a wood crafter, and he had made Betty a sign for her garden. Painted bees and butterflies floated around the words he’d carved into the wood.

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God’s heart in a garden,
Than anywhere else on earth.

This is part of an old poem, God’s Garden, by Dorothy Frances Gurney, published in 1913. And though I was only nine or ten, those words stayed in my mind forever, perhaps because they…

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Cindy Heath
The Memoirist

I’ve been a farmer, entrepreneur, writer, and more. I'm passionate about nutrition, health, nature, and the rewards of personal writing.