Count Your Blessings!

With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

Count Your Blessings!
Count The Garden By The Flowers, Never By The Leaves That Fall.
Count Your Life With Smiles And Not The Tears That Roll.
..... Author unknown.

Knowing me, Knowing you..... Aha.....!

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Malaysian Flora USDA Zone 11
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Monday, March 31, 2008

A Growing Plant to Remember a Loved One

This orchid was given to me by my father shortly after I moved to my new house on 31st August 2004. Mum had just passed away a few months ago after a long illness. It seemed like it was only yesterday when my heart broke into pieces upon hearing the news of her demise on that fateful day in May 2004. I hoped that dad would be strong and carry on living a meaningful life in Ipoh with younger brother, PS as his companion. I wished that he would live to the day he could see his only son getting married and producing grandchildren to carry on our family surname. But this was not to be. Three years later, in February 2007 (on the 9th day of Chinese New Year - Tian Gong’s birthday), dad too passed on.

This plant will always have a special place in my heart. It is the last remaining offspring from dad’s precious collection. Actually, I didn’t think much of it back then when dad first gave it to me. But somehow, as the days went by, this plant began to take on a new meaning in my life. Now that my old folks have left this world forever, I will not be able to touch, hug or talk to them ever again. Honestly, I do not need a plant to remind me of them or the beautiful memories that we had shared together as parent and child. But I am glad to know that this orchid is still living and growing. I can only think about the happy times of our lives. Strangely, plants do not bring back sad memories, only happy ones. I’d like to associate plants with joy and happiness. There is this great sense of accomplishment that I feel each time I see my plants grow, bloom and/or bear fruits.

Everyday, as I water this orchid, it never fail to bring back lots of wonderful memories of mum and dad and the carefree days of growing up with my younger sister, brother and grandparents in this small, rustic ‘cowboy’ town called Tronoh (Teronoh). Life was simple then as we used to go outdoors to play with our many friends almost everyday. We had nothing much to worry about except for the exams or maybe getting caned by our elders when we got into mischief.

From a tiny young thing, this orchid had grown into a fleshy and beautiful plant. I have spent many evenings tending to it, often wondering when it will ever bloom. Dad has the mother plant at his home in Ipoh. Dad’s orchid was blooming continuously with flowers. But why was mine still showing no signs of any buds yet? He relied on natural rainwater from the skies or tap water sprayed from a hose. Is it something to do with having a ‘green thumb’? 

Year after year I waited but there were still no buds or flowers despite my constant spraying with fertilizers, flowering inducers and watering with declorinated water. I experimented with different areas of my house and porch to get just the right shade, humidity and sunlight. I read books and magazines on orchids. I also search the internet for any information on orchid growing. Then I decided that it was time to to talk to my ORCHID! Well, I gave it the ultimatum that I will chuck it aside if it doesn’t bloom soon. Finally, around 100 days after my father’s demise, or nearing ‘wong san’ day, it began to bloom. Words cannot describe the feeling I had when I saw the flower buds. It was like dad smiling happily at me from heaven above. I was ecstatic! Yes, I have succeeded! My orchid has bloomed!

As I recall back, a strange thing happened shortly after dad’s demise. In accordance with our Taoist belief on funeral rites, we sought the services of a Taoist priest to hold a prayer ceremony on the 21st day after his death. Two days before that, I saw a pair of moths perched close together among my purple periwinkle and marigold plants. I do not have a liking for these dark nocturnal creatures because I thought they looked eerie and dismal. But these two moths were different. In fact, I felt happy to see them in my garden. I have never seen such beautiful moths before. It had pale green shades and white patterns on their wings. They didn’t move from that same spot the whole day and night. Mind you, I can see that they were alive, not dead, though not moving. I was thinking of mum and dad then. Perhaps they have found each other in heaven and are now living happily as a pair! Was it mum and dad paying me a visit, perhaps telling me not to grief for them anymore? So, I asked those moths whether they were mum and dad? Could they please come to meet me in my dreams that night and perhaps assure me that they have gone to a better place and are alright now? Are they with grandparents and our ancestors now? But, I did not have any dreams that night. The next day they were still there, resting slightly apart. By afternoon, they had disappeared.

I have read somewhere that moths have almost universally been associated with the dead, in that this sighting indicates that the moths are carrying the soul of a departed loved one. I am happy, because dad is now with mum once again; like two lovebirds together as a pair forever. My only regret – I did not take a photograph for remembrance.

Dear mum and dad,
I shall always miss you, your guidance and advice.
You were wonderful parents who taught us well about life.
You had given us a happy childhood,

that was filled with wonderful memories to last a lifetime.
You nurtured us and gave us a decent education.

Home was a happy place, always filled with warmth and love.
You were our protector, home doctor, teacher, walking dictionary, moral/environmental/nature educator, fengshui master, life's coach,
Everything a child could expect of the parents.
I want to tell my children, future grandchildren and great great grandchildren, 
about the both of you and all that you were.
You are now our guardian angel from heaven, watching over us on earth.
You may be gone, but your memory shall live on forever in our minds.

Never gone, never far
In my heart is where you are
Always close, everyday, every step along the way
Even though for now we've gotta say goodbye
I know you will be forever in my life

.... Back Street Boys song “Never Gone”

Updated 19 Nov 2012
This moth, the Oleander Hawk Moth (Daphnis nerii) was spotted again on my garden on the morning of Saturday, 17 Nov 2012. I have waited 5 long years. Now, finally I could take it's picture! You bet how happy I am to see, to be able to hold it on the palm of my hand and whispered  my secret wish to it before I let it go. With this I think I had gone FULL CIRCLE.

My related post - GBBD Nov 2012, a Giveaway.


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