(Scene: Linda returns home after being gone for a week. Plant anxiously awaits her arrival.)
Plant: …Where have you been?? You were gone. I felt abandoned.
Linda (dropping her suitcases at the door): I’ve missed you, but I’ve been where I needed to be.
P (querulously): You didn’t even say goodbye.
L (hanging up her coat, shaking out her hair, pulling out a comb): But I left you with the nice kitchen plants so that everybody could be watered at once.
P (sniffing): The kitchen was not congenial. I removed myself.
L (halting the comb in mid-sweep): How? You don’t have legs.
P (leaves fluttering as if preening): I wilted.
L (throwing herself into a chair, frowning, facing Plant): What?
P (leaves perfectly arranged): I restricted my water intake.
L (staring): You can do that?
P: Like humans, I self-regulate. Humans change demeanors to encourage other responses.
L (bewilderedly): …How?
P: You seem unusually slow today.
L (sarcastically): Forgive me. I’ve forgotten what these conversations with you are like.
P (matter-of-factly): Forgiven. Analogy: I have noticed humans cry, then people surround them with caring like you do with me.
L: Human emotional expression often isn’t usually under human control. This relates to you how?
P: I wilted. Plant lady scowled, saying, “You’re not dying on my watch.” Muttering about excess sunlight, she moved me to this room. So, where have you been?
L (sighing): I’ll deconstruct this conversation later. Been up north at a wedding. Long-time friends with bride’s mother.
P: Wedding ritual: Two humans commit to each other, theoretically for life.
P: Plants do not formalize relationships.
L: But you have other needs.
P: I need to know. About your being away.
L: Drove 12 hours in torrential rain to get there. A low.
P: I fear drowning in my pot.
L: Valid fear. Wedding next day inside. Glassed-in, beachside, venue, raining outside. Walked to the venue wearing FroggToggs rain pants, dress stuffed down inside, raincoat on top. Low. Beautiful ceremony. Gorgeous bride. Lovely meal. High.
P: Why frog rain pants? And do I sense a pattern?
L: Brand, not amphibian. And yes, down-up pattern like a sine curve.
P: Low, high,…
L: Returned to our friends’ home the next day and found that my friend’s mother, 100-year-old Edna, the bride’s grandmother, was dying. Low.
P: Definite low…
L: Our friend’s four children and partners were called back. Bride wore her back-up wedding dress so Grandma could see it. After the last child arrived, Grandma died. She timed it right…to be gone.
P: Grandma paced her death? The family encircled her when she passed?
L: Yes. Crying, they dove into funeral planning. Rabbi came the next morning to discuss the service.
P: A low…
L: Well, not exactly. Second daughter’s birthday party in a park was shortly after the rabbi left. Sandwiches, singing, birthday cake, walk around the lake.
P: A high…
L: Yes, but faster intervals…
P: …between emotional troughs and peaks…then what?
L: Back to the house: cleaning for them, writing for me.
P: Cleaning? Writing?
L: Cleaning: shiva, that night, at the house. Shiva: Seven-day mourning period from day of death in some Jewish cultures. Writing: They asked me to speak the next morning at the funeral.
P: You? Why you?
L: I’ve known both my friend, and her mother Edna who’d just died, for 55 years. Knew them well. Needed to honor Edna’s memory.
P: Low, high? Big honor.
L: Yes. I did the things one does when someone dies. Cleaning, shiva, funeral, honoring deceased and family.
P: Then what?
L: Ninety-minute car-ride to bury Grandma in another state. Late diner lunch sharing positive stories about Edna. Next day, cleaning up Edna’s nursing home room, lunching at my friend’s house, driving partway home.
P: Low, high, low, high-ish…? An emotional rollercoaster.
L: Range between peaks and troughs was shrinking. Healthy, accelerated grieving. Maybe.
P: You were right to be gone.
L: I think so. Was there, right places, right times.
P: I’m happy you’re back with me now.
L: Home…best place ever. Sanctuary.
About the author: Plant and Linda Lemery firstname.lastname@example.org welcome reader comments.