When Gabriel died, people sent us a lot of things: condolence cards, of course, but also money and plants. Some people even named a star for him, which I thought was beautiful.

The money I found a little weird, but as I was physically and emotionally devastated for quite some time, it did come in handy to pay some bills. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this, but while I was pregnant with Gabriel, I was doing a lot of freelance and work-at-home work, and I was working part-time at a salon downtown as a receptionist. The day we discovered his death, I had gone right from the salon to the hospital for a sonogram (no movement), and I never walked back in there — as an employee, anyway.

After several months of talking enthusiastically with most of the clients about my pregnancy, I just couldn’t face day after day of those same people asking what had happened. It was painful enough when I was there to get my hair cut. My stylist — who is also my friend, and who was the first non-family visitor when I was at the hospital awaiting Gabriel’s delivery — was still there for a few more months, but then he moved on too, and now he comes to my house to do our hair and gossip.

The plants were kind of hard, too, for some reason. To say I don’t have green thumbs would be a gross understatement. DearDR was adamant that we keep those plants alive, but neither one of us were equipped in terms of time (and in my case, skill) to do it.

Except for one (out of four, I think), a pretty peace lily. It was an easy plant to take care of as it didn’t need direct light, just frequent watering.

Once we moved into our new house (in July 2005; Monkey was 9 months old), the peace lily started seriously flagging. At one point, DearDR put it outside, thinking it would do better in the sun, but instead it got a little scorched. Watering of the plant was woefully inconsistent, and our house is extremely dry, which did not help. For the past six or eight months, we’ve known we’ve needed to replant it, but it has not happened.

And now we have this in our backyard, and the metaphor of it makes me terribly sad.