I distinctively remember an experiance I had one day. I was standing in my living room, I had been crying most of the day. I had only my underwear on and I was looking at myself in the mirror over my fireplace. I was holding a 2-liter of half drunk Mountain Dew. I was looking at my bare stomach and it's lack of muscle definition, my mind wandered, and I wondered if my belly button was symmetrical... then of course I thought something self depreciating like, "Who cares if its symmetrical, nobody will ever love me anyway."
That's about the time that the song "Nothing Compares 2 U" started blaring on my stereo. You may have heard this song from the original version sung by "Prince", or overwhelmingly more likely you heard the more popular version made famous by "Sinead O'Conner". I happened to be listening to the more recent cover by "Me First and the Gimme Gimmes". I knew the song, but with my current state of emotion I was carefully listening to the lyrics of songs in hopes that I could find an artist who could adequately describe my pain and anguish, and hopefully validate all of my sorrows. While still standing there, instead of relating to the singer, I thought... what a pathetic loser (the singer... not me)! Even though, at the time of this experience I believed that no one ever would compare to my ex-wife, and it seemed that a song titled "nothing compares 2 U" would fit me perfectly. It was all very whiny, I found the singer kind of disgusting and thought I need to make sure I'm not like this sap...
The song played on, and I listened as this line played out, "...all the flowers that you planted mama, in the back yard, all died when you went away..." I looked around and noticed the 4 potted plants that sat in that room. I noticed how already after the last months tumultuous events the plants had been neglected and were starting to wilt. I had never cared for the plants, that was Lara's thing. I thought about the other two plants in the kitchen. I set down my soda, and ran over to the computer to rewind the song, I listened to that line again as if to reinforce what I was about to resolve to do. I would make certain that those plants would not die! The plants health would be a symbol of my triumph over pain and heartache. I was so excited about my new hobby that I watered all of the plants and even took a shower after days of wallowing... I think, despite it being so trivial, that it was the first day after losing our son, that I felt like there was some actual purpose to my life.
I am happy to report that all of the plants are still alive. Mostly. The one pictured to the left was the furthest down the road of death, and it is now one of the healthiest. The one on the right has grown 8 1/2 inches since that day.
These three always look bad, they have never fully recovered, but haven't died either... I replanted each one in better soil and with clay pots, but they still haven't improved. If anyone has any tips or pointers on this I could probably use them.
This poor thing is the one I am worried about, It even bloomed with little flowers this winter, but now no matter what I try it seems like it's giving up.
If I lose one or two, it's been nearly 18 months since she went away, and I can now happily sing "...all the potted plants that you planted mama, in the front room, still live even to this day..." Cheesy? yeah, I know.
I look back on that day though, when I was feeling cold and lonely, standing in my underwear, and I'm glad that Prince wrote that cheesy sad song, whose lyrics I could despise enough to start me on my own personal road to recovery and remind me that I don't care if my belly button is symmetrical cause I'm wicked awesome just the way I am.
* = Originally the author typed '07 when '06 was intended. John would like to thank Quela for pointing out this grievous error.