In 2001, a Rose garden was constructed at Tara's home as a memorial for her grandmother. Sharon Barnhart passed as a result of Lou Gehrigs Disease in the summer of that year. Tara and her grandmother were extremely close from having spent very much time together when Tara lived in Texas. The rose garden was a special place for the family. Tara chose to take a picture with her yellow lab "Daisy" for their Christmas cards.
Each year, the Rose Garden produced dozens of long-stem roses of many different colors, from late Spring until early Fall. There were also blankets of white climbing roses covering the arbor and bench area in the center of the garden. The summer of 2005 however, was a different and difficult year for the Roses and the other plants in this garden due to the over-abundance of rain. This effect lead to saturated ground, a complete lack of rose production, and even the loss of some of the garden plants. The garden was essentially on the borderline of being devastated by the excessive moisture throughout the Summer.
Later that same year, on September 13, 2005, Police Officer Cadet Tara Drummond lost her life suddenly during a firearms training exercise. The three days that followed were blurred and confusing for the family. The pain, disbelief, sense of loss, and responsibility to arrange a funeral, of all things to have to do, arrange a funeral.
On Thursday morning, while standing in the driveway attempting to collect thoughts and make sense of events, my attention and focus were drawn to the entrance of the Rose Garden. Standing chest-high, tall and slender, beside the walking path rocks, was the most beautiful Mr. Lincoln Rose. A single glorious Rose, fully open and almost glowing in the early morning sunlight. I approached the Rose, touched it's velvety petals and began to cry.
I gathered other family members and a digital camera. The significance of this unbelievable sight was so personal and comforting in the midst of an extremely dark time. The pictures highlight the Rose, but they also show the surrounding condition of the remainder of the garden. While taking pictures, we also notice numerous Butterflys flying around the trees and the garden. The significance of the Butterflys would not be realized until Saturday, two days later, during the funeral. Glenn Richardson offered a eulogy for Tara that included an analogy comparing Tara to a Butterfly. See "The Butterfly" link on the home page.
For an entire week, family and friends, discussed the Rose and marveled at it's appearance. The following Tuesday, exactly one week after the incident, between 3:00 & 4:00 PM, we sat in the Rose Garden and cryed together. We again watched the Butterflys and talked about the Rose. The following day, the wind and weather blew the petals off of the Rose and it was gone.
We will probably not understand the events of losing Tara while on this side of Heaven. But, we acknowledge and understand that God showed up and comforted our family at the time when we needed Him most. The appearance of the Rose and the Butterflys will always be remembered as a bright moment in a dark, difficult time for our family.