In Due Time: Valentina Marie Blossoms

When my first daughter Jelly Bean passed away, I had to return back to work immediately.  Now that’s a whole different story and topic for another time but I couldn’t return to the Emergency Room on light duty.  Instead, I was sent to the Infectious Control department. From day one, my new light duty supervisor was amazing.  She would call me in her office to check on me.  She cared about my wellbeing.  We were stationed down the hall across from the chapel and she would tell me to feel free to take a walk when I needed a break.  When my light duty assignment was up, she gave me a small plant in a cut little box.  I called this my Jelly Bean plant. Up until that point it was the kindness gesture a complete stranger had ever showed me.

Fast-forward to November 2018, literally hours before my water broke, I found this beautiful plant and I took it home. I hate to spoil it but it too became another plant in honor of my daughter.

When I came home from the hospital after she passed away, I began taking care of this new plant.  Just like the Jelly Bean plant, this plant, grew so beautifully.   I changed the pot about three different times.  It grew so big that I needed to find it a new home.  I talked to the gardener at the Greater Newark Conservatory.  I explained to him how important this plant was to me and I didn’t want to get rid of it; I just needed a new home for it.  He had this amazing idea.   I could house my plant at the community garden.  He told me to take anything, I wanted from the shed, and use it to create an area that I could dedicate to my daughters.   

Let me remind and give you a little history about myself.  The funny thing about all this is, I didn’t even like plants before. Never in a million years, would I have thought I would of been a plant lover.  I am a send me flowers type of girl.  Blame it on my dad who would send me flowers to school for special occasions.  I guess from then on out, I was hooked.    My daughter’s father and I use to argue about this all the time. I would tell him to send me flowers. He would say, “I don’t want to give you something that will die”.   He would talk about plants.  My exact words would be “I hate plants”.  On our one-year anniversary, I wanted to give him a gift that I knew would mean a lot to him.  I gave him a bunch of flower plots, seeds, and soil. I gave in to this concept of growing flowers and plants instead of killing them by picking them.  We made a mess.  He actually got a little annoyed with me because I kind of took over his gift.  It was so much fun. We had a pretty awesome time planting seeds and naming our plants. We got a little overly ambitious as we tried to grow 4 different items in each pot. I found myself spending more time then him checking on our plants.   I made sure it received the right amount of sunlight and water. And as I’m quite sure you imagined, sooner than later, I learned spacing was everything. The items grew so well, we just didn’t have enough space. And this right here is where my love for the garden and plants started.

Now back to the part of the story where we had transferred Valentina Marie plant to the garden.  During the whole season, I spent at minimum three days a week at the garden taking care of this flower. I would rip up the weeds. I would fix the leaves and give it lots of water.   I would sit on the bench when I was done and talk to God.  My family would come and spend time in this area as well.  We would invite others to take a break and enjoy the beautiful area we created.  Not one time during the whole season did it sprout. At times, I would give up hope and say to myself “what happen to my beautiful flower? All of the other flowers around it have sprouted and grew so beautifully.  Now I just have these long floppy leaves”.   As winter approached, the gardener told me, it would need to be dug up and brought inside for safekeeping as the ground was beginning to freeze. I agreed and haven’t thought much about it.

Until today when I received a photo of my plant with the text attached “Hi your flower is truly blossoming now just wanted you to see what it looks like love Mark”.  I have not stopped crying since I saw this picture. I am currently going through a rough patch in my life.  I have learned that this tends to happen during transitional periods in my life but to see that beautiful flower sprout in the time I needed it the most was heart warming. It reminded me how beautiful the world is and how things can change at the drop of hat. It reminded me that hard work pays off. That sometimes we put countless hours into things that don’t yield results right away but trust and believe they will.

I hope this message reaches someone in need today.  Stay encouraged.  Don’t throw in the towel.  That breakthrough that you need is right around the corner.  I want to end with a big thank you to my girls who are my guardian angels, for being Mommies light in her moments of darkness. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone and you are always here with me.  It is signs like this that I know everything will truly be alright.  


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