Past eleven last night, I got a difficult call. My daughter Joy, between sobs, informed me that her German Shepherd pet dog, Daisy, had passed. On her 10th year, Daisy had left a distraught “Mommy and Daddy” who raised and cared for her, loved and appreciated her for her gentle nature, and for the calm, affectionate and observant ways she had endeared herself to the family.
After listening to my daughter’s grief-stricken words, I said a silent prayer and a soft goodnight, hoping that the night’s rest would give pause to grief. And to my sadness, too. This morning, I woke up and as I engaged in my usual morning prayers, thought about Daisy, still with a heavy heart.
Sadness peaked when I read my daughter’s Facebook post from last night:
“RIP, Daisy Bear. We will miss your loving affection and quiet solitude. As is your nature, you came inside tonight to kiss me g’bye, plopped down in your bed, and quietly left this world. Oh sweet, sweet girl. My heart is broken.”
And my response in a post:
“Sweet, sedate, loving Daisy — You were Daddy’s and Mommy’s girl — and Grandmama’s girl, too. Pleasant journey on the rainbow to dog heaven.”
The merry month of May is the glorious month of flowers. So appropriate that my youngest sister Chichi messaged me today about a rare flower that bloomed last night, in the veranda of our home in Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines. The Queen of the Night, scientifically called epiphyllum oxypetalum, made its dramatic appearance, spurring tremendous excitement that reached far California. I got very excited, too.
As to be expected, the demure visitor stayed just a few hours. Like a thief in the night, the blossom of this mystifying flower lingers only for one night. Growers, like my sister, have to keep watch and be alert for any sign of bloom. This flower is much sought after around the world, Chichi told me. Perhaps, that’s the very reason the Queen doesn’t stay very long, not long enough for any admirer to grab it off its stem. The Queen is of a succulent cactus that prefers to grow in the shade. Best to station it where it gets only indirect sunlight during the daytime. When fully open, the flower can stretch to nine or ten inches in diameter. Besides its allure and elegance, the Queen also effuses a delicate whiff that spreads over a wide vicinity, its royal court so to speak.
I can imagine my sister and my brother-in-law peeking out every night to check for any clandestine visit from the Queen of the Night. I just wonder – if I’m back there, would I carry my blanket and pillow out to the veranda and, despite the balmy night air, would I take my position beside the Queen?
I dote over my own arcane flower at home in Palo Alto. The red camellia that my husband planted decades ago, at the corner right outside our patio wall, wakes up from hibernation every spring.
Queen of the Night (Photos by Drs. Dodong and Chichi Gordoncillo)
Petals fallen from one mystifying camellia — gathered and looking like rose or cyclamen (Photo by lpj)
My daughter Joy called me this morning and asked if I had opened my front door. Strange question, I thought. I had no clue, but I opened the door anyway. Surprise! If inanimate objects could speak, this one would. A very lovely vase with a stunning mix of flowers was staring me square in the face right in front of the door – like begging to come in, cajoling, “Let me in, let me in!”. This clueless Mom all of a sudden realized it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow! All along, I thought it was the weekend after. Of course, I let the flowers in. Very carefully, I lifted the intricate and heavily laden glass vase and took it to my dining table, while a voice on the phone cheerfully chimed, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!”
Funny, I responded, “Thanks! Happy Mother’s Day, Sweetheart.” Immediately popped the rationale that yes, to me and to her, because I remembered her reminding me a few years back that she’s a mother, too, a Mom to two delightful German Shepherd dogs. And of course, the best greeting of all – “I love you” to each other.
And to all the Moms in my family, my daughter-in-law Natasha, my sisters, aunts, nieces and friends, Happy, Happy Mother’s Day!
Flowers from my daughter Joy and son-in-law Matt happily remind me it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow! (Photo by lpj)