Today, I am thankful for buds.
I remember asking her, "Why is that Christmas cactus blooming?" It was April and Easter, clearly not the time for any plant with the word Christmas in the name to be blooming. She said she didn't know, that she had never seen one do that before.
Two weeks later, I busied myself around the house while she lay in the bed resting and waiting to be called Home. I leaned down and picked up the bright pink blooms that were falling off the cactus from the floor.
Buds. Blooms. Fall.
I inherited the Christmas cactus. I also have two plants that I haven't killed yet that came from my mother's service. One small peace lilly and a beautiful indoor tree. I was watering them all the other day when I noticed the buds on the cactus.
The same plant that sat in her house on the floor just inside her front door. The same plant she watered and cared for. The same plant that was in full bloom as my mother lost her life. The same plant going through the same cycle. Another sign that life just keeps on going.
The buds, all tight and promising, caught me so off guard and took my breath away. The sight of those tiny buds literally sucked the air out of my lungs. Who knew that something so minuscule and surprising could effect me to such a degree?
Soon those buds will burst forth with vibrant color. They will mark the beginning or end of a cycle. I can't distinguish which the bloom marks... the beginning or the end? But that's the thing about cycles. They never end, unless they are interrupted by an outside force.
I live a life interrupted right now. Interrupted by grief. By loss. By the weight of it all. A life put on pause for long enough to try to figure out how to balance it and carry on. How long does it take to figure that out? I wonder. I wonder and I keep on trying.
In the meantime, my own cycle continues. The cycle of life at work within me. I feel the tight and promising buds on the appendages of my soul. I feel the growth, the intimacy with my God that I have never felt before. I feel the changes within even though those changes sometimes feel more inconvenient than they do good. I am so different. So forever changed. Reborn, in a sense, into a world without my mother. Relearning. Readjusting. Reconfiguring my world both inside and out.
It's hard, the world without her.
I am thankful for the buds on her Christmas cactus, as painful as they were to see. I hold onto the knowledge that one day soon they will release and open into brilliant blooms.