Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Potted Plants

When my mom died in February, a group of former Ms.ers chipped in and did many wonderful things for Brooke and me. Among other things, they bought plants. Nice plants. I brought two of them to work (along with one of my mom's plants) because we already have some plants in my office, and I thought it would be nice to see these plants there, too.

For whatever reason, one of them wasn't doing well. Rather than tend to it, a couple of weeks ago, my officemate moved it on top of the filing cabinet. I decided to take it home, but last week, I was taking the bus home, and it's just easier to put the plant in the car rather than deal with schlepping it along two different bus routes and the half-mile walk home.

Yesterday morning, I arrived at work, and it wasn't on the filing cabinet. It wasn't by the window or on the floor or in the reception area. My program's space consists of two offices and an open reception-like area. This plant was not in any of those rooms. I asked my officemate where the plant went, and she said, "Oh, that wasn't yours, was it? Well, it was dead."

A plant isn't dead, in my experience, until there's no green left. That plant was failing, but it wasn't dead. She swore up and down that it was and compared it to another (very green) plant in the room. She claimed she thought the plant was a cutting of this other (very green) plant which is completely different. Completely. Her plant has segmented stems like this. Mine looks a lot like a peace lily with variegated leaves. Her plant? No variegated leaves.

I told her it was a gift from my mom's funeral and that, no, there really wasn't anything she could do. End of discussion. I had a bit of a meltdown last night with B about how stupid it is to throw away a green plant especially when it's not even hers and how could she think those plants are related even in the slightest and putting it on top of the filing cabinet was a ridiculous thing to do because, uh, they need sunlight and that is why we call them plants. We made plans for Brooke to pick me up from work today so that I could take my other plants home.

This morning, Office Mate brings in a new plant for me. And for all of her claims that she thought it was a cutting of the segmented stem plant, she bought the same kind of plant mine was. She hopes I can accept her apology. I can't even open the card because I'm still so angry and sad, and frankly, I don't really want this plant. It wasn't the plant that I wanted, it was the gift from my friends, and now I can't have that.


At 4:44 PM, Blogger christa said...

oof, that must be a terrible feeling...

as i read your story, i find myself comforted by the fact that your co-worker had enough empathy for you that she wanted to correct her mistake.

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Emilin said...

She definitely did the right thing in the end. She's still a stupid tool.

At 12:30 PM, Blogger selzach said...

Em, I'm sorry you work with such a dumbass. She could've at least asked around before deciding to toss your plant. At least she apologized and tried to make up for it.

Hubby and I still have 2 potted plants from his step-dad's funeral 4 years ago. I know I'd be really upset if someone threw them away. Hubby's mom gave them to us because she received so many, and I feel like they honor step-dad's memory.

At 8:41 AM, Blogger Emilin said...

Thanks, Selzach.

It's not so much the plant as the meaning behind its gifting. It was a living symbol of all of the love and support my friends gave me in that time.

At 11:15 AM, Blogger frog said...

You still have the gift, E, even if you don't have the plant.

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