Today’s post is not about being happy. I did say, when I started this blog and called it “Infinite #100happydays” that no one can (or should) be happy all the time. We cannot appreciate happiness if we don’t have something to balance it out, to remind us why happiness is so important.
So today’s post is a somber one, to reflect on the passing of a lady who I actually did not know at all but who did leave an impression on my life and who, unknowingly, regularly contributed to putting a smile on my face. I feel that such influence deserves acknowledgment and this post is my digital equivalent of having a moment of silence to reflect on this lady’s life and her passing.
Her name was Dr Caroline Hussey, though I did not know this until today. She lived in a house on Shelbourne Road and when Hawkeye first started in creche in May of 2015 I would pass her house every day four times a day when dropping him off and collecting him. Now, I’ve already shared my love of the landscaping I encounter daily on Shelbourne Road here. Springtime brings all the front gardens to life in a series of flowerbeds and climbing ivy of all types and I have immensely enjoyed watching the street change every season. However, Dr Hussey’s garden was my absolute favourite. By the time July rolled around that first year, her little front garden was an explosion of giant daisies everywhere. They weren’t neat and tidy. They weren’t planted in carefully manicured shapes. Her front garden was simply a riot of giant flower stems bursting out in every direction.
And every time I walked by I would smile a little because, for such a simple flower, giant daisies are just an amazing pick-me-up. They’re bright. They’re cheerful. They aren’t pretentious. And also, my mother loves them. So every time I saw them I would think of how much she would enjoy such a sight, until one day I took some photographs and posted them to my Facebook page.
Last year, I did get a chance to speak to Dr Hussey once. It was getting on to the end of summer and she was weeding the garden. The daisies were no longer blooming and she was pruning back the dying foliage as the days were getting shorter and colder.
I stopped to watch her work and commented on how much I enjoyed walking by her garden every day. I think she said at the time that she hadn’t decided what she was going to plant for the following summer, but I told her whatever it was, I was looking forward to seeing it in full bloom.
I’m glad I took the chance to speak to her when I did. This morning I got a text from a friend of ours who lives on the same road. She sent me a link to an Irish Times article about the passing of the former UCD Registrar, telling me that this was her nearby neighbour whose garden I admired so much.
At the moment, her garden is just green, with some tiny wildflowers here and there, but there is no riot of wild flowers of any kind. I have no idea what she planted, if she kept the daisies or tore them out. Perhaps they’re still there, perennially waiting for their time to bloom as the weather warms up. I hope so. I will miss seeing them this year if they’re gone. But even if they’re not gone, I don’t think I will ever be able to walk by Dr Hussey’s garden again without a tinge of sadness knowing that the occupant of the house who made each day I passed her house infinitesimally brighter is no longer there. But I will also be forever grateful I had an opportunity to thank her for that little bit of extra joy she brought to me every day, just by simply enjoying her gardening hobby.
Thank you, and rest in peace.