Finally this morning I could go back to the video link you emailed to me 2 days before you died. Subject line was “To my Joann” and the link was Joe Cocker singing “You are so beautiful.” Talk about a parting gift. On Xmas day, you sent a link to all your friends of “I get by with a little help from my friends.” These are things I will treasure. Another last gift – among your “Barnes and Nobel social club” friends was that young girl, “the tragic damsel.” She would share dreams, which fascinated you. I know you loved picking apart the female psyche. Recently when I met up with you for a coffee, you told me later that as I left, I walked by Christine who was sitting on the bench out front on the cell phone (talking to some life drama). As I stood at the curb a moment to wait for cars to clear, you had both of us in your line of vision – me and a 24-year old beauty. You later told me, “you looked spectacular next to a women 36 years younger – every bit as good.” I laughed at you and just said, “I have stage presence.” But I was very touched that you could compare me to a 20-something and find me just as attractive. Old men in love are blind (smile).
It may sound so superficial – but it is what we want as women. We want to be seen as attractive to our mate. So you gave me that before leaving. Then the plant downstairs I posted on Facebook about. Truly – that plant was a dead as a plant could be. I’ve seen dead plants sprout from the base before, but they still had moist soil. This was a completely dried out root ball and the little branches are brittle. Yet it has sprouting from the tops of dead branches. I might not have thought too much about it, but for those two buds just sprouting right out of dead wood. Not out of a sprouted branch – directly from dead wood. This afternoon I’ll bring it up from the basement sink to see if those little buds will flower. There is no doubt in my mind that this is from you. Last year when I had roses of the month all year. When December roses arrived and I said they were the last, you thought it should have been arranged so I would still get one more bouquet on my birthday. I told you that you could buy me that last bouquet. Looks like you’ve managed to get birthday flowers to me after all.
These are the things I will hold close. Oh, I still remember the slings and arrows that passed between us over the years – the annoyances and sometimes downright meanness. That was all a part of our relationship. But when I want to remember sweetness, it is these parting gifts that will come to my heart.