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!