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March 1, 2020


Today it is Blooming


There are reminders, memories of our loved ones that comfort us.  Sometimes it is a simple gesture or a familiar phrase.  There are also the gifts; tokens given from your loved one or memorials given at the end of life or the funeral.  It is common to receive gifts of financial support and flowers or plants.  Today, March 1st, my peace lily plant bloomed.  There are only two blooms on the plant with no sign of others, and that is significant, speaking directly to my heart.


Please allow me to tell you a bit of my story.  When my second son Kevin was born, we discovered he did not have any  appendages; no arms and only two small elf-like stubs where his legs would be.   It was a shock and honestly, a horrific moment.  The local hospital gave us a peace lily plant as a gift upon his birth.  Kevin died when he was five weeks old from cardiac arrest due to the mutation of his lung tissue.  I endured the autopsy report and genetic testing to arrive with no conclusive reason for his anomalies, or his death.


Less than two years later, I discovered my daughter Jill, had similar anomalies.  She was born premature at 34 weeks.  She had beautiful arms and long, slender, perfect fingers.  Again, she had severely deformed legs with no hope of ever walking.  She died just shy of 2 days due to the mutation of her lung tissue, the same mutation as Kevin.  The story culminates with a divorce and my sense of despair.


Many years later, I now live in a century old farmhouse on a farm of  over 130 acres.  My husband of 26 years is a kind, caring man.  We have two additional children, with a total of three.  My oldest son, our daughter and youngest son are adults living on their own.


You can surmise how long I have cared for this peace lily plant.  It was a gift in 1986.  For a good portion of my life it has been a metaphor of my grief and joy.  There have been several instances when I would be amazed by the beauty of the abundance of blooms.  Other times, it looked shaggy and brown.  I refused to allow this plant to die.  I repotted the plant multiple times, tried several fertilizer treatments, and regularly changed the placement of the plant in the room.  It has moved from house to house, including at least six residences.


This home is our forever home and the lily will stay with me.  She went through a difficult patch three years ago which coincidently mirrored my anxiety and struggle to return to graduate school.  It did not bloom for almost three years; it remained dormant.  Then this beautiful day in March I noticed a bloom, only to discover another one budding as well.  One bloom is for Kevin and one bloom for Jill.  To my delight, two precious blooms had uncoiled their pure white beauty. I am confident that it is a gift; a gift from this lily plant and a gift from my Creator.


In the midst of your grief, you may sojourn a journey of love and yearning, sorrow and gratitude.  On this change of season to spring, may you discover the blessings-the true joy and poignancy of a sweet, warm reminder of your loved one(s).  Take time to look, to ponder how you are guided and held.  Take time to look for the blooms.