Flowers remind me of my mother, because she had them everywhere. Literally on every horizontal surface in our home.
She bought new flowers almost every other week for our house, and had tons of hanging flower pots in our backyard. I really loved it because they brightened up the place and made it feel homey, but man oh man, you sure do realize how many flowers one woman has when it is your job to water them all while she is sick. I remember her asking me to water them each day for her, and then me slowly realizing this was a legitimate part-time job that should come with a W-9.
Literally: She. Had. Flowers. Everywhere.
And then, because I’m dramatic, I would get worried when I’d go a few days without watering them. If she was particularly sick and the family had bigger fish to fry than cleaning the house, I wouldn’t water them at all. Then afterward, I would notice some of them wilting, and panic. I had decided that the flowers’ health was directly proportional to my mom’s health. Only I don’t think I ever really believed this; it just seemed like a perfect metaphor someone like me should latch onto, so I would, even though I knew it was silly.
When my mom came to visit my office at The Onion last year, she brought me a plant to liven up my desk. Shortly thereafter, I moved back to California to be with her, and while I was there, it dawned on me that I hadn’t been watering it for a couple of months, and that when I returned to work, it would be dead. I allowed that to let me spiral, seizing onto that all-too-perfect metaphor.
So when my mom passed, I took great pains to keep watering her plants for her. I didn’t want to let my mom down because I knew how much she liked her house to be just so, but it also just seemed like something a character in a movie would do after their mother had died. I don’t know why, but sometimes when I’m sad I start unintentionally (or intentionally) picturing my situation as if it is a movie.
I can be pretty insufferable.
When I got back from Europe, all the plants in my mom’s backyard were dead. Some of the potted plants were gone, too; they had been thrown away. It would have been really easy for me to spiral. A) because that’s what someone in a movie or book would do, and B) because it was another thing about my mom that was now over. I liked still having plants in the home that she bought. I liked lighting tea lights that she herself had purchased. And I have liked writing this blog because I started it while she was alive.
In a couple of days, this blog will be over too. And that’s okay. Because while I could easily spiral and accidentally (purposely) walk down the street listening to sad music and feeling sad about it, I can instead: A) remind myself that that’s just a scene from every indie movie you’ve ever scene, B) realize that me being sad isn’t about flowers being thrown away or a blog ending, it’s about my mom having to die at the stupid-young age of forty-nine, and C) picture my mom saying, “Stop it, don’t obsess over little things so much. It was a very nice thing you did, and now it’s over. And that’s okay. They’re just flowers. It’s just a blog. Go call your sisters.”