Coming to Canada in 1972, we were surprised with what Canadians throw away.
We found fish heads, meat bones and vegetables that did not sell late Saturdays at the market that made great meals. We found clothing in thrift shops and food packaging that were washed and rewashed as food prep or serving plates.
One day our papa brought home a bulb that he picked from a trash can. We saw him put that bulb in a pot with some earth he dug from somewhere and he nursed it. Every day he fussed over it, like a mother hen fussing over her chicks. And then a stem pushed up from the bulb and one day he proudly showed the flower. Amaryllis. One, proud, and beautiful, red flower. After weeks of nurturing.
On November 20, while ill at home, a friend dropped some gifts. I wrote back, “Thank you also for the oranges and for the Amaryllis. I nearly cried as this was the flower that my father, rol lampitoc, discovered when we first came to Canada. He nursed it like a baby and marvelled at its growth. He thought it was a most beautiful flower. He died on May 16, 2010. He was an artist.”
My daughter painted a portrait of my papa, her lolo.
On November 23, 2020, the day after her 91st birthday, our mama died. In the pain and grief over that loss, my daughter drew a portrait of her lola, my mama.
The Amaryllis box has instructions on recycling the bulb when it is spent. Love and nurture can be recycled when the beautiful bloom is gone and spent.