My Dad loved decorating and gardening. Aside from playing the piano and humming a tune or two, they were his form of artistic expression that made him feel relaxed and brought him a little bit of joy. He loved gardening so much that he decided to line the hallway leading to his room, on the second floor of the senior independent living residence center where he lived, with full, beautiful indoor plants. I don’t recall ever asking him what kind of plants they were but I do know he watered them religiously. He tells me all the time that the residents enjoy seeing his plants along the hallway. He enjoyed gardening so much he decided to ask the office manager if he could place a big pot outside the main entrance and plant his favorite flower – Jasmine. Each time we visited him, we are greeted by the lush blossoms as we walked through those doors.
During a visit with him, I noticed a sorry-looking shamrock plant sitting on top of his kitchen counter. “One of the residents gave this to me,” he said. “She said I did a great job with growing plants and flowers that perhaps I’ll be able to bring it back to life.” He didn’t give up on that plant and it remained under his care – until August 2017, when Dad ended his life’s journey.
I guess the plant was also in mourning, as the stems and leaves started to wilt after his passing. While we were cleaning out his apartment, my sister decided to bring that shamrock plant home with her so she can bring it back to life. As for Dad’s plants that lined the hallway on the second floor of the residence center? One of his next-door neighbors has since then been lovingly watering and caring for them religiously like my Dad did. I guess the residents and office management loved all of them so much they decided to keep the plants and his memory alive.
Before she left for a trip out of the country, my sister decided to give me the shamrock plant so I can take care of it while she was away. It still looked lethargic but, it definitely had some life in it. I didn’t inherit my Dad’s green thumb and I was worried it would only be a matter of time before it completely wilted away.
One afternoon, after giving the shamrock a few drops of water, I whispered quietly, “Hey Dad, can you please take care of this plant and make sure it stays alive? I’ve been watering it but it’s still not looking good.”
To this day, more than two years later, that plant continues to thrive in its small pot at home with me. It brings me peace each time I gently water it. Because I soon realized, I was not only making sure to keep that plant alive and well, I was also making sure I have something to see every morning that will remind me of Dad. Because as long as I keep it alive, fond memories of my Dad will always continue to be a part of my life
Happy Father’s Day Dad!