Plants and legacies

My mother’s Thanksgiving cactus is blooming again. It makes me feel like it’s her sending me her love, a sign, that she’s still with me. I love thinking that my mom’s energy is out there nurturing the plants and flowers she always loved. I do not have a very green thumb, but I’m so thankful I saved this from my parents’ house after Mom died this is the third time it has bloomed in a year and a half. I still have regrets that I did not save her African violet or other large plants in time. My dad definitely doesn’t think about watering and nurturing plants, and the neglect they suffered during mom’s sickness were too much to overcome, but this one is thriving at the moment.

All of this got me thinking about legacy house plants. I’ve been going through a bunch of stuff I took from my parents’ house the past few months as my dad has moved to a smaller place. It has been a moving walk down memory lane since my mom never got rid of much stuff. But, I love having this houseplant of hers maybe more than anything else I kept. Knowing she replanted it, watered, fertilized and nurtured it and cared about it, when I do the same, I feel like I’m still showing my love and care to her. I have several legacy plants in the house now. Several that make me remember and my loved ones and show my love for those memories.

In addition to the Thanksgiving cactus, I have a plant that belonged to my husband’s grandmother. It almost didn’t survive last winter indoors, but it thrived outside this year, and I’m happy that it seems to like the window its in this year. She loved frogs and my grandmother does too, so even the planter is special.

I was given this plant as a housewarming gift from dear “framily” member three and a half years ago. It is a descendent of a plant that belonged to my friend’s great-great grandmother, so it’s a great-great grand plant from an original that has lived about 130 years. 

This spider plant is also a descendent of a plant that was started when my brother gave a small one to my mom. He was in kindergarten as I recall, so that was a little over 40 years ago. This is probably at least a grand plant from that original, but they produce so many babies, mom, me and my brother have all given away too many of its descendants to count through the years.

While helping Dad pack up the house late last year, I found these two planters. They had held plants or flowers when I and my brother were born. I commissioned a friend to put some succulents in them for me. The block belongs to my brother once he can find a safe place for it away from his cat. The booties are mine.

I have some old plants around the outside of the house too, including some peonies that were my paternal grandmother’s. I dug up some bulbs at Mom’s while I could and am hoping they survive the winter in my dry, cool basement until I can get them planted next season. I’ll love having even more living memorials around the place. And my husband and I planted some tulip poplars a couple of years ago, that we hope will be our legacy to future homeowners here. We don’t have children and although future generations in this house may not have known us to remember us, their enjoying the shade and breathing the oxygen created by those trees will be legacy enough. 

Published by MKChurchman

Certified Care Consultant and End of Life Doula Specialist. I offer assistance with end of life planning, elder care, end of life and after death care through my practice Shoji Bridge Departure Doula. My passion is to bring death into the light and inspire my community to be more comfortable with and compassionate to people who are dying. My mission is to be a guide to help people pass through the final barrier on this plane of existence and move gently onto the path to the next.

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