My Miracle Orchid
One year ago today, my mother’s four-month journey of suffering ended, and I believe she found peace in the next life alongside my Dad. Today is, unexpectedly, a rough day, as my emotions ride a roller coaster. And yet, when I look upon this Orchid full of life, my heart is filled with wonder, joy, and hope. Why?
My history with the Orchids, given to me over the years, is the opposite of the success I achieve with my gardens. Basically, Orchids are doomed to end up in the green bin under my care. I should have apologized to those orchids for not understanding what they needed from me as I was clueless. However, I only hesitated for a moment, to salvage this withering Orchid from the room of my Mother’s two weeks before she died.
The Memory Care facility, with great caution and safety protocols in place, allowed me a moment to whisper into my Mother’s ear that I loved her, and it was okay to go to Daddy and…yes…say “Goodbye”. Though she was physically present in her bed, I had the strangest feeling that her spirit was somewhere else.
However, as we gathered a few more of her things to take home with us, I saw a pathetic looking orchid with a card in front of her window. I had an inkling that this Orchid, though it looked “done for”, had a special spirit. It was a gift from the children of my Mother’s first and only best friend, Patty, whom she had met in Memory Care. Though, Patty had passed several months earlier, Patty’s children upon hearing the news of my Mother’s ill health, gave her the gift of spring and color. In a way it was a gift to me as well so, despite the feeling that I’d probably end its life. I brought it home and said, “Okay, Orchid, I’ve not had much luck with your kind, but I will give you light and try not to over or under water your roots. I will do my best not to kill you, but the rest is entirely up to you. Get it?”
The leaves were all that remained in the original pot and so, I placed it in my kitchen window where all the other Orchids had sat, and I was careful not to over or underwater as I had promised. And then…and then… about 9 months later, shock of shocks, a teeny sprout of a stem appeared and a little more peeked through each day and I marveled as the stem continued to grow. I marveled again when the first bud appeared. I could not believe my eyes, as bud after bud started to form each one popping open a delicate bloom in its own time. The Orchid was not just surviving but thriving. It was winning the fight to live its life again.
Lo and behold, the Orchid’s final bud popped open a gorgeous bloom April 24th, 2021, three days before the one year anniversary of my mother’s passing. That is, undoubtedly, a miracle to me. Those glorious blooms with their varying and vibrant shades of purple have touched me so deep in my core that I find it hard to articulate. In one way, it has provided me with untold comfort and a sense of peace.
I believe a small part of my Mother’s spirit fed this Orchid when it had been neglected. It tells me that my Mother is fine, that I needn’t worry. That her heart is still filled with the love we gave, and she took with her when she left her earthly form. And as I said, at the beginning of my musing, this Orchid symbolizes HOPE for me. When I look upon it my heart soars with HOPE. Hope in the knowledge that even the most fragile of us can, no matter what we’ve endured, with a little light and care, not only survive, but we can recover and move on to thrive and bloom mightily again. These are the lessons from My Miracle Orchid.
The Three Tomatoes LA Life editor, Debbie Zipp is your friendly guide to the best of everything in LA with a tomato style perspective. Debbie is an actor, producer, and writer. She is best known for her recurring role as Donna on the CBS series "Murder She Wrote" starring Angela Lansbury. She has had many other TV and stage roles and has starred in over 300 national TV commercials. As head of In The Trenches Productions, Debbie produced, directed, acted in many short films for her company. Her book, The Aspiring Actor's Handbook: What Seasoned Actors Wish They Had Known was recently published.