The chive plant that has been with us for almost forty years has bloomed again. Thesha transported a section of it from our Sarnia garden several years ago, and it does well for her. We don't have the same success with the division that we planted at our place across town, which is odd because one year in Sarnia we divided the plant back and carelessly tossed the excess in a plastic container that was lying about. Somehow we negligently left the container lying bout, and didn't the plant actually grow and flourish despite its neglect. Therefore, it's a bit of a mystery why we have so much trouble with it in this place.
Who knows how old the plant really is because Audrey gave us a division of her plant way back in the seventies when we were neighbours. I wonder where she first got it. How far back does its history extend? Was it passed onto her by someone near and dear, someone as meaningful to her as she is to me?
Like Dad's forget-me-nots, Audrey's chives serve to remind me of the person from whom we obtained the plant, of Audrey and the lesson of her life, or at least the lesson from her life that is most relevant or prominent to me. You see, shortly after we got to know her around the mid-seventies, she was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. Since she was a tea-totaller, this was a rather freaky disease to be struck with, but to her great credit she always refrained from doing the "Why Me?" whinge. You'd think under the circumstances, she'd be entitled, but she resisted. That's certainly part of her lesson to me.
Audrey lived with the disease for almost thirty years: much, much longer than any doctor thought possible. She remained as a vital human being on this blue planet when everyone else in her support group passed away. Although that's not really her lesson to me, it most likely resulted from her exemplary attitude, which is her lesson to me.
She never complained, but always faced the world with a positive attitude. In her fifties at the time, she had just begun to take up and enjoy golf. Young Thesha would help her in her practice by chasing and collecting and returning Audrey's wiffle balls in the backyard. Of course, she had to give give the sport up, but Audrey never complained. I'm sure that the disease always affected her. but sometimes it would attack virulently. However, Audrey would endure these attacks, by going to bed for however long it took for them to abate, often three days or longer. When the crisis ebbed, she'd get up and go cheerfully about her life.
We meet a lot of people on our walk through life, and few pass on important lessons, but this lady taught me a lot through her courageous, cheerful, and resilient attitude. She showed me that even when life becomes hard and seemingly unfair, one can choose to lead a happy and positive existence. They say that happiness is a choice, and Audrey was a living example of to me of how, by making that choice, one should deal with the vicissitudes of life. While I rather doubt that I could face life's harder knocks with an spirit equal to hers, I think that I have done and will do better than I would have had I been deprived of her shining example.
And when I begin to forget, her chives tend to remind me of Audrey's lesson every summer, particularly when they bloom like this in late spring.