Saturday, February 9, 2013





My maternal grandmother's grave


Grace and I on East River Mountain, Bluefield West Virginia

Seasons. We all go through seasons, be we human or plant.  There is a beginning, there is the freshness of youth, the richness of middle age, and the memories that older age brings to us, then their is the passing to prepare for another new season.  My mom passed away unexpectedly on Sunday morning January 27 of this year.  She fell at home, and I got to the hospital in time to see her still alive but not conscious and in "very critical", as the doctor said, condition.  She was taken from the emergency room for a cat scan of the head, but her heart gave out once more and she could not be revived.  Incidentally nothing was wrong in her head, probably was a heart attack.
She told me the night before that she didnt feel well, she thought she had a bad cold, though she had no temperature.  I suggested that if she felt really bad, she should call emergency, but she thought it was not that important and in any case I would be down the next afternoon to visit anyway. 
 My mom was a strong person that was the matriarch of the family, my dad depended on her in so many ways.  She was fair, but could be feisty, but we all knew that she loved us and that she would have wanted to go fast as she did not like hospitals nor doctors.  While we knew her health wasn't great, especially due to her shortness of breath which we presumed was brought on by a lifetime of smoking, a habit she could not quit though she tried, she did beat early stage breast cancer last year and till the end was always up and about, going shopping, making dinner for dad, etc. Her death was a shock to us all, and came at a particularly bad time for me as I was already grappling with an anxiety disorder recurrence after several other stressful events in the last few months.
I can't say I got my love for flowers from my mom, it was her grandmother that really inspired me in my early youth.  Mom was not much for gardening, she liked simple things like hostas and azaleas, and certain other  flowers she considered pretty.  When I lived in the same house as my parents I got much flak from my mom over "tall" plants, she particularly didn't like lilies (reminded her of funerals), a tall Helianthus giganteus hybrid I grew from seed, and also when we moved she made me dig up all of the Zingiber mioga and take it to the new house.  She thought it looked like corn and hated when a stalk or two would hang over the sidewalk.  She did not appreciate botanically interesting/plant geek type of stuff but she did like colorful flowers.  She liked peonies and tulips, and liked when I would cut some for her table.  She also liked roses, especially a pink Mary rose I planted for her in the backyard. 
I wish she was less reluctant to travel far in her later years, many times I invited her to come to Bluefield with Grace and I on our summer drive down south, but she was afraid of bridges, fast moving traffic, and always worried about dad. She did have a nice weekend just before she passed, when one of my three sisters brought down some good food.  All four of us spoke with her often, and Grace and I also visited frequently since we got the new house (and invited them to come live with us if they ever wanted to). I wish we had a chance to say goodbye, but Grace and I will get to fulfill her last wish, which is to take her ashes back to Bluefield and intern them next to her mother's plot in the cemetery in nearby Bluewell.  Unlike many New York cemeteries, it is not particularly crowded, quite beautiful and the hillside she will be in faces east to catch the rising sun. 
Like the photos on my blog, the past lives on in our memories.  I trust my mom is in a better place where sickness and worries are not found, and she still lives on here in our memories and in ourselves, for we would not be who we are without her having been such an important part of our lives.  RIP mom, we miss you.