Your Life & Mine: Small Treasures

Once upon a time, when my husband and I were almost 22 years old and had been married nearly 3 years (Wow, that’s young.), I gave birth to our first child, a beautiful baby girl we named Koral Kristine. My doctor immediately noticed that something wasn’t “right” about our baby. She wasn’t crying normally and her fontanels seemed swollen. We learned that she’d been born with meningitis and, after a valiant and painful fight of nearly five days, our little girl took her last breath. From then until now, including all the tough times we’ve been through — fourteen very rough years of parent care, deaths of both our mothers to dementia, and the small personal heartaches everyone goes through — the loss of our daughter has been the most difficult, but God has been close, and we have been blessed with two lovely children and now two lovely granddaughters.

Perhaps you have found as I have that sometimes, during great heartache, small treasures help us get through. For me, one of those treasures was a plant friends sent for Koral’s funeral. The scientific name is Sansevieria trifasciata. It’s better known as a snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue, a name I prefer not to use. I had a sweet mother-in-law. These plants are very tough and can endure a lot of abuse, but, for the first few years of its life, I asked my mom to care for it. I thought if it died, my heart would hurt a bit too much. Eventually, I took the plant to our house and was able not only to keep it alive, but to allow it to thrive.

One day about 15 years later, a February 20th, I walked through our dining room where that plant lived and a beautiful scent wafted through the air. The plant was blooming with the most glorious spike of lacy white flowers. They smelled like gardenias. The reason I know it was February 20th is because that’s Koral’s birthday.

The dedication page of my first novel, MOTHER EARTH FATHER SKY.
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Fast forward to the year 2016. For some reason my lovely plant was not doing well. I tried everything I could think of, but one by one the long green leaves died until only one was left, and the day came when that leaf fell over rootless and lay across the pot. I reminded myself that it was 44 years old, which had to be old for a plant. I told myself to let it go in peace. I even threw the leaf away. But an hour or so later, I decided to try an experiment. I dug it out of the garbage and slit the bottom of the leaf then set it in water. For weeks and weeks it just sat there, but finally, finally it grew roots! A couple months later, this bright green nub appeared.

I’m not sure I can keep it alive, but what a lovely small treasure it is to me, and a good lesson as well, in hope, in perseverance, in determination. The hope being mine and the determination and perseverance belonging to the plant!

Do you have any small treasures in your life? I’d love to hear about them.

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22 Responses to Your Life & Mine: Small Treasures

  1. Diane Serra says:

    Beautiful memories and touching story. When my grandmother died in 1982, I brought her Christmas Cactus home with me. It felt like a part of her was still with me. It would always bloom just once a year and it always seemed to be when I needed her the most. Since then I have split the plant between my 3 sisters and their children. Now we each carry a part of grandma in our homes. Treasures for sure.

  2. Beautiful…Made me cry it touches my heart. I too lost a daughter but she was 42, I have a picture of her on my wall and at night I can see it from my bed and it comforts me to know I will see her again some day ! I have 3 other daughter’s and 1 son but she was my first, so was very special !

  3. Cindy Panik says:

    Sue, a very touching story. I remember hearing about your Koral passing to her heavenly home with Jesus. You are a strong woman of faith and have a giving spirit. You have been there for other going through the same loss of an infant. I’m glad your plant has survived all these years.

  4. Anonymous says:

    So very special Sue♥️♥️ Love to you💕💕

  5. suehar says:

    Thank you, my friend.

  6. suehar says:

    Thank you, Cindy, my sister of the heart.

  7. suehar says:

    I can’t imagine the loss of a grown child, Brenda. Sending you prayers and hugs.

  8. suehar says:

    Oh Diane, What a perfect way to share memories and love!!

  9. Randi says:

    What a touching story, and I can relate to how sacred and special that plant is to you. When I was 14, my dad died, and my mom and I traveled across 3 states to go to his funeral. I remember there being an entire wall filled with flowers and beautiful plants, and I stood there for a while after the funeral, studying them. Finally, one stood out to me. It was a peace lily in a clay pot that had a beautiful Aztec design, and I chose it to come back home with me. I had it in the back seat with me, and when we reached checkpoints at the state lines I would cover it with a sweater, and no one noticed I was smuggling anything unusual. At the last check point though, a leaf or two was sticking out of the sweater drape, and the guy told me I will have to surrender my plant. I threw my arms around it and said rapid fire “you aren’t taking my plant, you aren’t taking my plant, you aren’t taking my plant”. Somehow, he must have seen how desperate I was to keep it, and he waved us through. I was so relieved, and already extremely attached to Lily, who just at that moment had earned her name. I had Lily for 12 years. A few years after my dad died, my dear Grandmother got dementia and moved in with my Mom and I so we could take care of her. And through that extremely difficult journey, whenever I was having a hard time, Lily wouldn’t be doing well either, I would be caring for her the same as always, it seemed like we were linked. And later, when time started to heal, she would start thriving too. When I moved out of my mom’s house to start living on my own, I brought Lily with me, I thought I would have her forever. A couple years later I moved to the coast, and she didn’t survive that trip. She was and is still a part of me, even though it’s been 10 years since she passed away. A glimmer of hope, a fragment of peace that rises up out of the ashes and nothing can take that away. 💙

  10. Beverly Stevenson says:

    Like you Sue I also received a plant from a friend’s family that I chose to keep from my dad’s passing. It is a peace Lily and I treasure that plant. It’s been eight years and it still is going strong. Recently one of my kids was going through a difficult time and noticed the plant and has found that having the plant around and taking care of it has been very healing to him.

  11. Kathy Pianosi says:

    What a lovely story!😇
    God helps us in so many ways to get through our
    heartaches, but bringing life back into a 44 year old
    plant! Wow, God must love you!! I’m so glad he does,
    you are a wonderful friend Sue, and your daughter in
    heaven, is living with Jesus until you both are one again!
    Thank you for a wonderful story of Love!! 😘❤️✝️

  12. Jody Harrison says:

    I remember that beautiful, peaceful baby face. Beautifully told story, Sue.

  13. Ronnie & Donna says:

    Very very touching. Donna and I either don’t remember or we were gone in the Navy.

  14. suehar says:

    Yes, you were overseas, I think, Ronnie. That was in 1972. Didn’t you live in Scotland for a while?

  15. suehar says:

    Thank you, Jody. I remember what a comfort you were to us.

  16. suehar says:

    That is the greatest comfort of all, Kathy. To know we will see her again. Thank you for your kind comment.

  17. suehar says:

    What a wonderful idea, to share the plant, Beverly. Something green and living can hold a great deal of comfort.

  18. suehar says:

    I love your story, Walking. Peace lilies are gorgeous and I’m glad your Lily could be with you during difficult times in your life.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Your life really touches my heart. I can’t even Imagine losing a child. No one knows the pain unless you have been through it. My heart goes out to you because the pain will probably never go away

  20. suehar says:

    It hasn’t gone away, Anonymous, but you do learn to live through it. It helps so much to have the support of others and eventually to be able to support others going through a similar circumstance.

  21. Cathie Greenough says:

    What a beautiful story, Sue. I remember that time so well, sitting at your kitchen table and thinking how strong you are to survive such a tragedy. Your faith was such an example to me. It served me well.

  22. suehar says:

    As is your faith to me, Cathie. I know we both look forward to that day when we will hug our child again. Love you very much.

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