My friend gave me a bag of gladiolus bulbs at a time when I was indiscriminately planting flowers to nurture some form of life after losing 2 most precious (to me) lives to Covid in quick succession. I had never had much luck in growing plants from seeds or bulbs but I was mentally exhausted to think about what would thrive and what would not and somewhat fatalistic about planting. I needed to dig holes, separate roots and gently place them in the hole with the hope that it will draw nutrition and grow up to radiate beauty and yes, joy.
To be honest, I had forgotten about the bulbs till I saw young green shoots emerging from the soil. I think I was weeding when I noticed them. They certainly looked different from crab grass and I stopped myself from plucking them from the ground. Could they be…? They were! Gradually they grew to be long green stalks, some grew more than others. They were just that for a long time though – long green stalks. Sean and I wondered if that is the end of their journey. And then we saw some diamond shaped patterns on the head of one stalk. I kept close eye on it. The next metamorphosis that I noticed was a deeper shade of purple just underneath the green. And today, when I walked out to go for my walk, I saw this.
I want you all to meet Little Bud. Welcome! I have been patiently waiting for you. You made me happy and you are one of my “goods” this week.
My mother died of Covid on Mother’s Day. I saw her on a video call at the hospital and wished her happy Mother’s day in the morning. She wished me happy Mother’s day back. Then as they put the oxygen mask back on her, she said she was going to spend some time in her sister’s house and then go home. With that, she closed her eyes to rest. I take comfort in the thought that she died thinking she was in her sister’s house, comfortable. She had no visible discomfort. She fell asleep, lost consciousness and never woke up. For a fiery lady that she was in life, this was a very quiet, peaceful exit. She went gently into the night.
Sahana gave me a geranium plant for Mother’s day. The day after my mother died I did not know what to do with myself. Instead of pacing aimlessly in my living room, I thought I would plant my gift in memory of my ma. Planting the flower given by my daughter and in memory of my mother gave me tranquility. I don’t know what happens after death but I refuse to believe she is gone from me. I believe, at long last, thousands of miles between us is not a barrier any more. Her physical form could not traverse the distance to be with us whenever she wanted but now her spirit does not care about those miles. It gives me peace to think she is within me, surrounding me. A part of her, her gene, is always in me. But that is for the scientists to explain. I am trying to feel her essence, her benevolence, her love around me, enveloping Sahana, Ryan and Sean.
I go out often and sit by the baby flower plant. Within its green leaves, hopeful buds and one single bloom, I find my mother’s energy radiating into my universe.
The beauties featured in the photograph are the cynosure of my eyes right now. After Sage’s death, a dear friend gifted me a blooming orchid. She said seeing a new life bloom may soothe me after the loss. She was absolutely right. As each bloom unfolded its potential and spread its beauty, I was mesmerized. I sat by it thinking of my years with Sage but not in a melancholy way. The quiet splendor of the orchid gave me peace.
Another friend is a nurturer of indoor plants and succulents. The pictures of her plants on Instagram inspired me to buy a succulent for myself. Although I enjoy flowers immensely, I am sad to admit, I kill plants. Understandably, I was nervous to buy the succulent fearing I may be incapable of keeping even a hardy plant alive. My friend encouraged me. “I believe in you” she said. I ventured out and bought 3 succulents. I kept them on the sunny ledge of the balcony where Sage used to sit and reign over his domain. I added 2 basil plants, a mint plant and 2 pepper plants to the mix. Now Sage’s ledge is completely covered by new life. I like to sit by them, savor their quiet beauty and think of him.
This was his space. He ruled his world from here.
I managed to keep all the plants alive this year. They seem to be thriving. So I got ambitious and bought more succulents for inside my house. I work and read next to them now, glancing over often to marvel at how beautiful they are, how full of life. Sahana bought some baby ones for her room and now we have quite a collection of quiet yet vibrant life in and out of our house.
Sage left us with emptiness and quiet. The plants fill up that emptiness with their lives. They maintain the quiet. I don’t mind it. Their radiating beauty soothes my soul.