Wednesday, July 31, 2019

slice of life ~ late july

July...a month filled with both beauty and heartache.

My son, Philip's birthday was July 21st. He would've been 31 years old. How do you imagine your child being 31 years old when they passed away at the tender, young age of 21? The more time that passes, the harder it is to imagine what he would look like or what he would be doing. But I give thanks for the day he was born. The day I became a mother. One of the greatest gifts of my life.

We celebrated Brian's birthday a few days later. The three of us went out to dinner at a lovely local restaurant on a lake and dined al fresco.

The farm stands finally open in July here and the farmer's markets are also bursting with fresh corn, tomatoes, peppers, radishes, green beans, blueberries, onions, and potatoes. I've been making gazpacho with fresh tomatoes and peppers, and one night we simply had corn, tomatoes and roasted fingerling potatoes for dinner. There is nothing like the taste of fresh produce. It is nothing like the waxy produce in the supermarkets that travels hundreds, or sometimes thousands, of miles to get to us. I hate supermarket tomatoes but will eat a ton of homegrown ones.

My perennial gardens are in their glory right now...coneflowers, phlox, bee balm, black-eyed susan, lilies, lamb's ear, hostas with their long-stemmed purple blooms, joe pye weed...and the herbs are producing like mad. Stepping out my front door and snipping fresh herbs for our meals is a simple pleasure in life that makes me happy.

I've seen quite a few butterflies in my yard this year. Plenty of red admirals and now monarchs (yay!) - most likely due to my neighbor having milkweed growing amongst his six foot tall weeds in front of his house. (Yes, the weeds really are that tall. He refers to the clusters of them on the side and front of his house as his "weed gardens". He's a nice guy and a great neighbor, so we try to overlook his weed jungles.) And last week, I saw a blue and black swallowtail on our garage! I haven't seen one of those around here in a couple of years.

Most every evening, Brian and I walk down to the lake and watch the sunset. Sometimes our neighbor-friends are out in their front yard and wave us over and we sit at their vintage outdoor table nestled in their gorgeous gardens and sit and talk until we realize how late it is and we're being bitten by mosquitoes. We walk home hand-in-hand in the dark, the neighborhood now quiet, crickets chirping and stars overhead. Somehow, it feels like July is perfect.


  1. I'm always sad when I read your annual reminder of Phil's birth date and much too soon death dear Melanie.They say time heals but it also brings dates, each and every year, when we may be almost healed but perhaps never completely. I suppose they are called memories and thankfully it's usually the good memories of times we were able to spend and enjoy with those dearly loved ones.

    Your July photos of all the beauty of what's happening around your home, neighborhood and places you visit, are wonderful. That kitty posed on the ledge is adorable. The flowers, butterfly, and lake at sunset, all beautiful. I recall you were making gazpacho, as I did this week, your version is yummy looking with the added avocado, extra healthy too.

    Enjoy August - can't believe it's here already!
    Hugs - Mary

  2. Having a 17 year old son who is recovering from an opioid addiction, your posts about your beautiful son make my heart grieve for you. It is beautiful that you celebrate his life with the world.

  3. Your garden is lovely this summer and it must be lovely to take in the sunset at the lake

  4. I know you all miss Phil so much. It seems like you appreciate the beauty around you and spend good times as a family, and never take it for granted. Your post is a lovely celebration of summer and family. Your gardens are beautiful...and I admit to letting milkweed grow amongst my gardens, too. xo

  5. I know that divorce is high among couples who have lost a child. You are doing fantastic just still being together and you look very close. I know how much you miss your son. You will never stop. That's the natural course of things.

  6. Oh isn't summer grand! Love all the pictures. Butterflies coming and going are the best. I can't imagine losing a child but it is so loving of you to remember him and talking about him and celebrating him always.
    Happy Thursday Melanie.

  7. Your garden sure amazes me. Enjoy the farmer's markets. I don't know what to say about your son. I can't begin to imagine. I'm sorry you have to go through this.

    We haven't had many butterflies this year. They're always a joy.



    Friend, sending you such a big hug and I know that can't possibly even make it all better.

  9. There are always those milestones that remind us of the loss of someone we love. While we have not lost a child we did lose a grandchild and she would have been 14 this past week. Nothing worse than losing a child- it is not the right order of life.

    It sounds like you have a wonderful evening watching the sunset and chatting. Beautiful pictures! xo Diana

  10. Dear Melanie, my heart aches for you and for your family. And for the missing years of your dear Phil. I know there is literally nothing that can be said to help someone who has lived through every parent's nightmare but you, my dear friend, would have been such a help and source of strength to Phil in these years you should have had together. Like Brenda's comment above, I find it the relationship between you and Brian so admirable. That ending of this post, you and Brian walking back in the dusk to your home, hand in hand, said it all.

  11. I read your post, several times over the past few days actually, and all the comments left by friends. I think they are all wonderfully stated and so eloquent. I don't think I could add anything quite as poetic, except to say that I echo so many of them and I think of you often. Big hugs to you my friend. xoxo

  12. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your son.... that pain never goes away. But his memories will always live on in those who loved him. Your pictures are just lovely! I hope you have a wonderful week.



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