March 08, 2011

Can't Never Could

It matters not that Time has shed
His thawless snow upon your head,
For he maintains, with wondrous art,
Perpetual summer in your heart.

~ William Hamilton Hayne

I vividly recall the message I received from my brother Michael one late afternoon in August 2005.  He sounded so excited that I could barely decipher his words through the phone. All I understood was that he was coming over.  I was not quite sure what to expect… this type of call was not unusual!  Patiently I waited for his arrival because I knew it would be worth it.

Michael’s F150 roared up my driveway like a hurricane!  I watched as he climbed from his truck and walked up embracing a large boulder!  He was a big, strong guy!  I knew immediately it was for my gardens…but something told me there was so much more than what I saw.  He proudly looked down at the heavy object held tightly against his body with ease.  My eyes curiously followed his gaze and there it was, “Jano’s Garden”. Lovingly etched into the hard surface appeared the name he gave me as a baby and continued to call me from that day forward.  I marveled at his skilled ways and wondered how he did it! It was perfect, made especially for me by him! Together we selected the perfect spot for my memorable new garden art.

A lot has changed since that warm day in August and my boulder remains humbly placed under a tree in my gardens. It meant so much then… and even more today. In 2006, Michael passed away suddenly from a massive heart attack at the age of 49.  In so many ways, he was like the boulder in my gardens, he was my rock. We were very close in age and even closer in spirit. We shared a lot growing up and I always admired him…he was a great guy and a wonderful friend.  Michael was my big brother, my protector, my buddy, my pal.  I miss him deeply.

Michael taught me many things through the years but most importantly he taught me the importance of simplicity.  He often reminded me and I can still hear him say, “can’t never could”, which was exactly how he lived his life.

May all your gardens grow


  1. What a sweet story. I look forward to seeing the boulder when all the snow melts. xo

  2. I had no idea Mike was no longer with us. I lost my younger brother, Keith, in 2009. I feel your pain and loss. Words cannot convey the impact of one life on another. I do know that family never dies, only waits.
    Bonnie Yaklin Welch

  3. this was just beyond beautiful. What a wonderful tribute to your brother. I am so deeply sorry for your young....not fair....Michael lives on in your beautiful garden...thank you for sharing a piece of him with us

  4. Thank you Catherine, Caren, and Bonnie for your sweet messages.

    Bonnie, I am so sorry for your loss. I love your words, "family never dies, only waits" - I will hold those words close to my heart. Thank you.

  5. What a wonderful gift from your brother. And, more importantly, the memories you have of him. I lost my brother almost three years ago, he was 42. He died of cancer. He was the baby of the family and I was a second mom to him. I am 7 yrs older. I miss him too.

  6. I am so sorry for your loss. You have captured my heart with your touching story to the point that I just became your latest follower. This was a beautiful tribute to your brother and he will live on forever in your garden. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Thank you so much, Lee! I truly appreciate your kind words.

    May all your gardens grow,


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