51. Unspoken Love

51. Unspoken Love

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Happily Ever After

Unspoken Love

You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

When it comes to flowery speech or emotional expression, my husband, Dave, is a man of few words. That was one of the first things I learned about him when we married thirty-one years ago.

One of the next things I discovered is that Dave has little use for rosebushes. He had no second thoughts about yanking out mature plants to widen the driveway when we purchased our home. To him, roses represent hours of pruning and spraying, mulching and fertilizing. As far as he’s concerned, a lawn mower and hedge trimmers are all you need for the perfect garden.

On the other hand, I treasure my roses. I consider every minute of their care well worth the beautiful, fragrant results.

One winter, I spent several evenings drooling over rose catalogs and planning a small garden. In the spring, I ordered several English varieties of self-rooted plants. I removed an area of sod, worked and reworked the ground, and planted the foot-long starts. During the heat of summer, I watered them daily. In my mind, I saw the fruits of my labor: masses of color and fragrance perfuming the air just outside my kitchen window.

But as it sometimes does, life spun us around and redirected our attention. In the fall, I began to have pain in my lower abdomen. At first I passed it off as nothing serious. But instead of getting better, the pain intensified. I went to see my doctor. He ordered tests; when the results came back, he asked to see me in his office right away. He also requested that Dave come with me.

Our worst fears became reality: colon cancer. I’d need surgery immediately. After a short recovery period, I’d undergo a six-month course of chemotherapy.

We cried... and prayed... and cried some more. We had one week to inform our family and friends. Then, trusting God and my doctors, I entered the hospital.

One month later, as I lay on the sofa still recuperating from surgery, Dave and I watched the TV weather forecast. It promised bitter cold temperatures and possible snow.

“Oh,” I moaned to myself, “I never did get the roses mulched.”

Dave just sat and watched the end of the forecast. Then, always the practical, on-top-of-things handyman, he said, “I’d better go winterize the outside faucets.” He bundled up and headed toward the garage.

Fifteen minutes later, I hobbled to the kitchen for a glass of water. What I saw from the window brought tears to my eyes. There was Dave, bending over the roses, carefully heaping mulch around every plant.

I smiled and watched as my quiet husband “said” I love you. You know, sometimes words aren’t needed at all.

 

~Emily King
Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul

More stories from our partners