Years ago, I was a Hospice volunteer - and I mean many years ago because I remember being at training. We had to draw a time line and place ourselves on it - thinking about ourselves. I drew it and placed myself right in the middle - so that means way back then, I was 50 and I believed I was halfway through my life!! Certainly optimistic - and why not??
So what does the cactus have to do with it?? I was assigned to be a volunteer for a small frail woman named Phyllis in Franklinville. We visited every week for awhile - we shared stories and had some really special times!! After a few months, Phyllis' niece decided she would like her to move to Florida so they could be close to one another. Phyllis had no children, her husband had passed, and her niece was her closest relative. She was unsure about the move, but needed to be near family. On our last visit before she left, we were walking around her yard and the cactus was in bloom. The yellow flowers were totally awesome - strong yet delicate and well protected by all of the pricklies on the leaves!! I asked if I could dig a piece to bring home to remember her by. Of course she said yes and we worked - very carefully - to dig it up! I placed it in our garden by the stump of a giant mulberry tree we had to have cut down. The first winter after I planted it, I was concerned when it looked like it was withering and gone! I let it be and in the Spring - ell it was amazing. The cactus leaves started to fill out, stand up straight and after awhile, there were new leaves and buds for flowers. Needless to say, the cactus...and Phyllis' memory live on into perpetuity in our garden!! The leaves are from this year - new growth. The flowers - last year's as we eagerly anticipate the ones that are coming this season!!
It's a lovely memory - a gift from Phyllis and the garden every Spring!!