I’ve dreamt of growing a vegetable garden for a few years now. My life had become increasingly chaotic and the actual work of putting a garden in felt overwhelming. In the summer of 2009, I had planted a rooftop garden at our house in the city and grown buckets of tomatoes. A part of me felt like that might have been it for my garden dreams.

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I told my best friend yesterday that I spent all my energy and time keeping Gavyn alive for the last few years and what if I missed other important tasks, things I should have taught my boys, because I didn’t have space for more.

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She simply replied, “That’s a lot to hold.”

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There was nothing simple about those words.

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It was and is a lot to hold. The care of Gavyn. The worry of Gavyn. The daily fight to keep him going and keep him healthy. We’ve had times of reprieve and times of storms. Lately, it has felt like a storm. A battle for his brain. A battle to keep this silent enemy at bay. This literal thief of the night that robs him of his faculties.

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I ripped up a huge chunk of my yard last fall. I cleared it out with my best friend. We chainsawed all the weeds and vines and low tree branches that had taken over a huge section of my yard. My dad and I rented a tiller and dug up the dirt. The boys and I cleared out the grass we dug up. Then Dad and I made several trips to the hardware store to purchase materials for raised beds and a fence. He and I and the boys built the boxes, laid down the landscaping netting around them to prevent weeds, put down mulch for a walkway. We spent another Saturday digging fence post holes and dropping the stakes into the ground. Then it sat there all winter. Unfinished, looking barren. I had received a huge shipment of dirt before it turned cold and filled the boxes. I watched the rich fine soil turn cold and hard and form into hard unworkable dirt. That was how it felt.

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I thought I would lose my home. I thought I would lose my garden. It all felt like that dirt. Turning hard, cold, unusable.

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Gavyn had more tests during that fall and winter. We got the same results. We started with a new neurologist. It was a hard transition as we had had the same neurologist since infancy with him but she didn’t specialize in seizures and she needed me to take Gavyn to her colleague. I really liked his new doctor. We tried new meds. They didn’t work. We’re trying some more.

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Spring came and with it the promise I wouldn’t lose my home. I planted seedlings and my sunroom burst into a new life. In my, over excitement, I planted them in the ground too early and most of them died off. It was alright, we planted more seeds, bought some plants, worked the soil until it started to become soft with new life. It’s now Summer and with her, she brought heat and sun and the garden has burst into new energy and life. My friends and I are harvesting the fruits of hard labor. Green beans, lettuce, soon more tomatoes than we will know what to do with. I’m able to pass on the goodness of our hard work and it feels right. It feels like what a garden should be about.

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I may have spent more time in doctor’s offices and hospital rooms alone with Gavyn than anyone else, but I know I wasn’t completely alone, my community has helped grow him too. We’ve all invested in him and carried him. We’ll continue to carry him.