A caregiver’s thank you to the chaplain who wouldn’t leave me alone
From black thumb to green thumb
Writer’s note: This post was originally published in Medium’s “Live Your Life On Purpose” blog series on August 5, 2019.
I scowled at the green nuisance sitting on the rolling table, wondering why in the world the chaplain brought this plant over. My grandfather had just turned 95 years old. He was a trained mechanic, a master chef, a veteran and married for 49 years.
He built his home from the ground up and rarely if ever hired anyone to fix anything, from plumbing to roof repairs. I respected this Renaissance man for everything, minus his fascination with plants.
My mother and he shared this love of talking to their plants. My grandfather had a fruit and vegetable garden. Although he has photographs of a kindergarten-sized me planting an apple tree, there are more photos of me just running and jumping in the yard trying to flee.
My mother had plants in our living room that were big enough to touch the ceiling. And they loved the hell out of these green creatures.
I, on the other hand, had a black thumb and absolutely no interest in owning one plant. I successfully killed a plant I was left to care for, during one year as a receptionist. The idea of watering, feeding and talking to these things was for weirdos.
How I got stuck with a new plant
My grandfather had been hospitalized for three weeks. So how was he going to take care of this plant that the chaplain brought over? An aunt (his oldest daughter), my parents and I took scheduled rotations to be caregivers for him. He’d been in the hospital twice already.