Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. Robert Louis Stevenson
I have never considered myself to have a green thumb and until recently, quite frankly, always found gardening a little boring. (Well, not as boring as fishing, but that is for another conversation!) However, over the past year, I have acquired a few plants and have become fascinated by their growth, their response to water and their placement to the sun. It has been interesting to move the plants from one area to another, watching them respond with spurts of growth. Heck, I’ve even gotten my hands dirty and re-potted a couple of plants. Talk about going out on a limb! (No pun intended!)
I wouldn’t say that I know all the names of the different plants, but I do know from studying Latin that green plants are called Viridiplantae. Some of the plants sit outside on the patio and some sit inside around the house. Just in the last few weeks, I moved a beautiful yellow and green leaf pant from the shady side of the porch to the sunning side and immediately, the plant grew about 5 inches. I have found this process amazing to watch and glad that I have found a new Saturday routine to follow.
I water the plants every Saturday morning and look forward in anticipation to my time with the plants. Back and forth from the faucet, adding a little plant food to the water, ensuring that the water is not too hot for the plants. Funny how caring for the plants sounds a little like Caregiving to me!
What is interesting about the Saturday routine with watering the plants is that Richard and I had a routine every Saturday were we would go to breakfast and spend the morning together. On Friday night we would talk about where we wanted to go for breakfast the next morning; we would plan elaborate trips to Miami or to Palm Beach, but more times that not, we always went to our old favorite restaurant in the neighborhood for our bagel and nova sandwich. My good friend Denise Brown from Caregiving.com pointed out to me the other day about the symbolism of exchanging one routine for another. I had to chuckle at myself and whole-heartily agreed with Denise. The exchange of one routine for another, while innocuous at first, has true meaning and is symbolic of the love, care and commitment that Richard and I shared for each other.
Sure, I check in on the plants during the week to make sure that they are all in good health and prospering. Yet I was taken back by one special plant today which started my foray into horticulture. At Richard’s celebration of life last April, my sibling sent me a plant in his memory. Over the past year, the plant has lost its beautiful blooms. Until this morning when I noticed two new bloom! I was overcome with joy!
There were times during the past year that I thought the plant was not going to make it. Yet somehow it bloomed again. Come to think about it, there have been times over the past year when I did not think I was going to make it. While the sleepless nights have dissipated, the crying spells have subsided, the missing of him sitting next to me has never gone away.
Over the past year, I have read quite a bit about the different theories on the grief process. One theory said 30 seconds of grief is all you need; of course, there is the traditional 3, 6, 12 month theory for grief. From my experience, I really don’t think one particular theory on grief works. Grief is so personal and so real, and so different for each one of us. Yet there is one theory that I do think applies to each one of us. Like plants that need to be watered in order to regain its bloom, we too, in our grief process, need to be watered so that we can bloom again. There is no time-table for a new bloom, but without the proper nurturing and care, our soil does become dry and whither away.
The symbolism of this new bloom comes exactly one year to the day when our Caregiving story, In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey was published in the Sun-Sentinel. I beamed a big smile of joy for the new bloom today because I was reminded how important it is stay the course and…to be watered. And I shed a tear of joy knowing that this new bloom is Richard’s way of telling me that he is at peace and right beside me.
I think I will keep this plant for quite a long time, because I just don’t water the plant, the plant waters me, too!
Chris MacLellan is the Host of Healing Ties Radio which can be heard on