My grandmother has days, hours, or only moments to live. She is approaching her final journey on this Earth peaceful and unafraid. Much as she has done her entire life I imagine. She is strong, wise, beautiful, and above all, always seems to joyful. She even fought Stage 4 brain cancer and won. In her final moments, she continues to think of others pain and not her own. I can only be in awe and pray that I will one day be just like her.
One of my favorite memories of my grandmother is when we one day and only one time, planted wildflowers. Before I jump into that however, it’s important you understand something about me: I am a grade A plant killer. Somehow I even managed to kill a bonsai tree which I was told is near impossible. And that was with me tediously trying to take care of it!
Good-nature teasing of my plant killing accomplishments kept me away from trying to plant gardens and failing; even though I really did enjoy the process. Minus the bugs of course.
Anyways, I don’t recall how old I was but I was old enough to know what it meant to fail and the teasing didn’t feel good so I made sure to note take part of plant endeavors. My grandmother didn’t even blink. She led me to the backyard and simply asked if I would help her plant wildflowers. Excited about spending time with her but apprehensive about killing her flowers, I started off hesitant.
As we planted, my grandmother just started talking. We talked about flowers, life, her life, mine. She would smile as I threw a few seeds down or when I would do the opposite and carefully put each seed in. She didn’t criticize or judge. She just let me plant. A few weeks later I came back and they had already grown! They were tall, beautiful, and of every color you could imagine. I don’t know if I cried or not then but I do now at the memory.
My grandmother praised me and thanked me. Saying how tall and wonderful they were. I am pretty sure to this day, those plants are the only ones I never killed. But more importantly, something I never realized until now so close to her passing, how much that time meant to me.
It was one afternoon, perhaps and hour or two at most, and all we did was plant some wildflowers. But you know what was planted in me instead? Love and respect for myself. My grandmother didn’t judge my past failings. She didn’t take part or listen to the “curse” that I had towards plants. She just let me try again and have fun doing it. And while I never realized it, I believe that is in part where I get my spirit from where you can’t tell me I cannot achieve something. Because I’ll do it.
It is proof for me that even in one afternoon, even in something as simple as just planting a few flowers, we can impact for life. Wildflowers can create ripples and those ripples can create waves.