This story is about mental health and my mom.
To start off, my mom has a natural green thumb when it comes to plants and planting. She's been that way since she was a kid. As she grew up, she would try to grow things, but couldn't because of my grandmother.
So, after my mom left her mom's house and ventured out on her own after she turned 18, she started to experiment with different soil, plants, watering, how long to leave in the sun and no sun, etc.
For years, mom would get different vegetable seeds, flower seeds, and just about anything to grow.
We lived in a small house for several years that had a small but nice backyard. And mom thrived!
Each spring and summer, mom would be out in the backyard, playing in the soil, getting it ready for planting. I swear her smile would swallow her entire face!
It would take her weeks to get the yard ready for planting. And when she planted the seeds for anything she was growing, mom did it with love. Sometimes we would have vegetables and flowers at the same time. Mom became so good at her gardening that neighbors would ask her advice or just talk to her about her plants.
What's funny, is that her garden would attack gardener snakes. Mom would come out to find them sunbathing in between the rows of her plants and just laugh. (I think the snakes didn't like being interrupted and slithered away, I literally saw this with my own eyes). She tried teaching me to plant, I just wasn't into it, but I praised mom on it. It was her one true love. When she started to do potted plants, that was a challenge that she loved. She would take notes on everything. What seeds went into which pot, how much sun, how much water, etc. When the pots got so good for the plants, she would transplant them. And then she would make them into beautiful gifts.
She would do aloe plants and some flower plants as gifts. It was her hobby she enjoyed.
One year, she grew Russian Sunflowers. I tell you, those flowers were huge by the time they grew tall. They covered the front door and the window. She had different flowers along with the Russian Sunflowers. A lady from a magazine came out to take photos of the sunflowers and other flowers too. Mom was proud of it. It drove my dad nuts. He was proud of my mom, but the flowers drove him nuts.
If mom was out walking around and saw different flowers, gardens, just anything about plants, she would just look and stare. She was envisioning how her plants would look. Sometimes the people would come out to talk to her and they would be in plant heaven just talking about plants. She would get different ideas and sometimes she would trade some of her plants for theirs.
As far as I know, some of these people still have her potted plants in their homes.
After my dad passed away years, mom really got into her plants. She kept experimenting with different flowers, aloe plants, etc. I would tease her about pitching a tent outside so she could be near her plants. If she could, she would have slept in a tent outside, near her plants, 24/7.
Mom was an avid gardener. She learned by leaving ordinary tap water sitting out for days, wouldn't harm the plants. it was better for them. She would look into her books and write down anything she did or didn't do, so she wouldn't forget. I had to admit, her system worked. If there was a plant mom couldn't grow, she would figure out a way of growing it.
She would put different flowers together, (as long as they worked together) in different pots and see what would happen. At times, beautiful flowers, and at times, a strange science experiment would happen! LOL! When the strange science experiment would happen, mom would just smile and laugh. And continue to plant.
If mom wasn't planting, she wasn't happy. It was her therapy. My mom was emotionally and mentally abused throughout her childhood and by my dad.
So, planting and growing plants, and gardens was her therapy and it helped. That woman could be in her garden for hours and never get bored or tired. Sometimes it felt like we had to send a search party for her if she at least didn't yell or something. She would joke that the search party had better have a coconut cream pie for her with them when they found her.
Mom often had plants in the house, to liven up the place and to make it smell more like mother earth. I still have her pots and soil. I still have her books. All I need to do is get the seeds and plant a garden this year.
Mom once told me if she was never allowed to plant anything anywhere, she would not be happy. I understood that.
Mom started losing interest in her plants and couldn't figure out why.
One day, she fell and broke her arm because of a vertigo episode. She went to the hospital and a couple days later or so, she was diagnosed with small cell cancer. Stage 4. The cancer was too aggressive and too far advanced. We both said no to chemo.
She was in the hospital for about 2 weeks. She became a patient for Hospice. It broke my heart to see her not be able to continue her gardening. The cancer was in her brain, lungs, chest, and everywhere. She was at home, in bed, and looking at her plants. I watered them and took care of them while she watched. She cried because it hurt her not being able to do anything with her plants.
I promised her I would take care of her plants. And I did keep that promise.
Mom survived another 2 weeks. She passed away on Nov. 14th of last year.
I'm going to clean up and start another garden with her pots this year in her honor. Different flowers, plants, etc.
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