I wanted to show you how I rearranged the patio plants so that the ones getting stressed by the afternoon sun now have more shade.
My favorite chair is off in the shady corner with plants all around it.
Below is the area across from the one above, next to the patio door. I like the proximity of the purple sweet potato vine plant from where I sit indoors.
Jade the tree has been rolled back by the gate that I keep locked, which goes into the alley behind the strip mall.
I find that I like to take photos of Jade with the weathered fence in the background for texture.
So now I want to tell you a story about visiting the nursery yesterday.
Seldom have I been given to buying plants with large lavish and showy flowers. But yesterday was an exception.
I was strolling around Southwood Nursery, and toward the back I came upon many hibiscus plants. One in particular caught my eye. It was the red Midnight Marvel Rose Mallow.
I thought it was very pretty, but not really my style. Typically I’m more interested in smaller blooms like the cone flower and petunia and verbena flowers.
So I walked around some more. I went in to the walled off darker area that houses the shade plants and looked around. Then I went back out and strolled around the sedum and perennials.
My cone flowers never seem to come back after one year, though I dearly love them. Neither did the Black Eyed Susans I planted last year.
It was getting warmer as I walked around. It had been cool when I arrived. I made a few more passes by the hibiscus plants, wondering why they kept drawing me to them.
Finally I just plopped the one above in my cart and went to pay.
Once home, I situated it on top of the two big galvanized containers. I kept staring at it. I went inside, sat down, and stared at it some more. Something was niggling at me that I hadn’t quite figured out.
And then it hit me. It reminded me of Abi.
Abi was so full of spirit, so full of life. She was a princess and she demanded to be treated like one. She was loud and boisterous and funny.
She was like my red hibiscus, opening up her flower to everyone to get attention.
I got up from the couch and walked over to the patio door to look more closely. By then I was crying of course.
Because Abi had guided me toward a showy plant with scarlet flowers spanning 8-9 inches that would remind me of her.
It even has rich wine colored leaves that are a delight unto themselves.
You know I am taking this grief thing a day at a time.
Yesterday when I left here I first went to get gas. As I got back in my car and pulled the safety belt across my body to secure it, my memory flashed on bringing Abi home at the end of each day after Dr Poteet gave her fluids.
She was so small by that time that I put her next to me and pulled the safety belt across both of us. She was so weak by then that she didn’t resist.
I would drive her home singing some nonsense all the way, trying not to let her hear the tears in my voice.
I was losing her a little more each day and it was unbearable, but something I had no power to change.
In the above photo, the red blooms look like they’re reaching over to kiss the sun on the fence. That’s my Abi. So full of love and mischief.
I am learning so many things. I have learned that the first month was very tough. But I was somewhat anesthetized by shock.
Then after that phase I entered another one. I had thought that as time went by, the pain would lessen a bit each day.
I was wrong. After the shock I am fully facing the loss with nothing to protect me from the assault. The new reality.
The pain is sharper, like walking on pebbles with your bare feet. Every memory stings.
And so I sit here and gaze at the red hibiscus waving gently in the morning breeze.
In my patio garden, it is like an actress on a stage. Raised above the other plants and enjoying its place on a throne. Spirited and sassy.
Just like my Abi, loving the spotlight.
“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair…”
― Susan Polis Schutz