My cousin Henry, like myself, was a bit of a sentimental gardener. I remember sitting on his back porch one day, noticing a pot of variegated sedum. When I questioned him about it, he said it came from our Granny’s yard, did I want some? I think I left it behind that visit, but I finally did grab it on a later one. When I couldn’t get the sedum to take in my yard, I grabbed another specimen. That one didn’t make it either. When he moved into the house with Julie, I once again asked about the sedum. He pointed to a pot in a corner of the yard, telling me he hadn’t put it in the dirt yet, but I could have some and could I please make an effort to not kill it this time?
Yeah, that one didn’t make it either.
At some point, I mentioned to his partner Julie that I wanted some of that sedum. She brought a hunk for me to Mark’s wedding, which I promptly put in the ground where it’s gone gangbusters. What she didn’t know is that there were two types of sedum and she grabbed one I already had. I still wanted that variegated sedum. So this past weekend, when we were up that way, I went by to grab the sedum in question.
Henry loved sports – games of all sorts really – with a favorite team for every sport, on every level. I’ve been to all manners of sporting events with him, but at heart, baseball was our true love. Specifically, Orioles baseball. We were raised on it.
At the wake at the bar after Henry’s memorial service, I found myself telling his buddies that we should get together for a ball game. It wasn’t until this summer that I realized that was exactly the sort of thing Henry & I did at funerals and that was exactly why I needed to make a ball game happen.
Grief is one of those conditions of being human that we all go through. We all handle it differently, but the truth is, it never goes away. Sure it has moments of smacking you over the head with a 2×4 when you least expect it, but once you get used to the idea that person is never coming back, once you get through that first year of firsts, in theory it gets easier. The farther away you get from when they were alive, the easier it gets. Well, except for that occasional 2×4 out of the blue. You never really do get over not having the ones you love around to hold up their end of the conversation you don’t stop having with them. Grief is not solitary, but it can feel that way. We all mourn differently. And the day I bought the tickets for the whole gang that had committed to going to this game with me, the game I knew I needed to go to because, well Henry, I realized my grief had turned a corner. I had gone from crying every day to every few days. But the action of actually buying Orioles tickets – something Henry had always done for me – in some way helped me come to terms with it all. I was indeed, going to live through this.
So this past weekend was the one we had picked for the ball game. Saturday morning, I got up early and went up to Julie’s for coffee and to grab the sedum. There, in the same spot it was when they moved in years ago, was the pot. Henry and I didn’t just share the sentimental gardening gene, we also shared the slightly lazy gardening gene. While he had never gotten around to planting the sedum in his new garden, it had managed to jump the pot and establish itself. Julie, noticing that, grabbed the pot and handed it to me, telling me to take the whole thing as the sedum had obviously made itself at home.
I unloaded the pot from the car to my front porch. I stuck a few stems in the ground near the sedum Julie gave me earlier in the year, but left most of it in the pot, on the porch, where it seems to belong.