Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014 @ 9:18 am
She died. Of course she died. There was nothing left of her.
A year ago, Daniel brought home a Christmas cactus that was originally from her house. I glared at it, knowing that watering it was adding to my chores. He placed it on a high shelf, and I told him abruptly that I was not taking on the care of yet another plant. That if it was going to live on a high shelf that it was his responsibility to water it.
Months passed, and he never watered it. I asked him if he was planning to start watering it. I crossed my arms across my chest, stubborn, and watched it slowly wilt.
It takes a long time for a Christmas cactus to die.
He didn't visit her much in her last year. We went twice, he went another time without me. It's too hard, he said. She's not herself..
Last weekend, in a fit of apartment cleaning, Daniel took the cactus from the shelf and dumped it into a garbage bag. My insides crumpled, and I instantly regretted my impudence.
Fifteen hours after her death, I'm standing in her room at the nursing home. Bed stripped to expose a bare rubber mattress. I remove her sweaters from their plastic hangers and fold them into a laundry bin. Place her slippers into a plastic bag. Zip up her raincoat and place it on top. I press down on the heap, and my throat constricts - the cactus.
I stand there, the sun streaming into the room, and a lump of hot burning fire builds at the back of my throat. It hurts and no tears come to quench the heat.