Over the years, my piano teacher and I have become friends. B. has always been generous – bringing cards and treats at holidays, making cakes for various occasions. We celebrate each other’s birthdays. I have known B. for over ten years.
So when B. was diagnosed with cancer last August, I was upset and concerned. With no family of her own and no means of financial support when she isn’t teaching, it was going to be a struggle for B.
Over the past six months, B. has endured grueling rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. She has trouble eating and drinking, and she has been in hospital or nursing home care for the better part of these past six months. Two weeks ago, as the hospital got ready to discharge B., I was extremely concerned. She had been so frail, and I was worried that she would not be able to care for herself all alone in her apartment.
About a year ago, B. gave me an orchid plant. A lover of these notoriously finicky flowers, B. instructed me to care for the plant by putting a few ice cubes in the soil, letting them slowly water the roots. The orchid bloomed for a time and then went dormant. For the rest of the year, the plant’s large green leaves stayed glossy and alive. But the stem remained bare. Then in February, I noticed the roots climbing over the side of the pot, so I replanted the orchid in a slightly larger pot. Sure enough, large buds began to form. And just last week, the first blossom opened up in all its purple glory.
At home in her apartment, B. is also starting to get better. She is eating and drinking on her own, her hair has come back, and the color has returned to her face. As she regains her strength, I see glimpses of the fiercely intelligent and independent musician and opera singer she once was. I showed her a photo of the blossoming orchid she had given me so long ago. We agreed it is a sign of hope.
As Easter approaches, we celebrate resurrection. And I feel hopeful for B. and the new life that seems to be slowly unfurling for her. And I pray for all those struggling that they find a new hope in this Easter season.