From Mon Apr 1 04:55:19 1996
Date: Sun, 31 Mar 1996 23:46:16 -0700
From: Daryl Stogner []
To: Contrib=at=LLX.COM

Death of a Flower

I chose the subject of this message, as it seems to fit my Mother-in-law who died March 12th, 1996. Rosa was 65 years old when she died of Pancreatic Cancer,(or what began as that type of Cancer).

Last summer she became pretty ill and could not hold down food at all. In a couple of weeks she was jaundice and terribly weak. My wife and I took her to the doctor and tests were done which revealed the beginnings of the Cancer. We were told she had 3 to 6 months to live.

We had talked to Rosa and she was not concerned with dying outwardly. We urged her to consult other doctors and she went along with that, just for the sake of her daughter. We drove her to Scripps Clinic in LaJolla, CA and she began experimental therapy with a new drug in testing. The results didn't appear beneficial at all, so we concentrated on making Rosa comfortable at home and keeping our family close to her as much as possible.

She and I spoke privately during the coming months, where I learned of her growing up as the daughter of a poor farmer, living in a dirt floor house deep in Mexico. She told me of her meeting and marrying my wife's Dad, who was a mechanic, and decorated Korean war veteran. He died a couple of years after my wife's birth.

Rosa being a widowed parent, became suspicious of people and not very trusting. But over the coming years she met and worked for a great variety of people. More than Sharon and I can even count today. As Rosa was telling me these stories of her life, I often would ask for more details. It never surprised me how sharp her memories were of things that had happened to her 20, 30 or even 40 years earlier. She was fully aware of her surrounding her entire life.

She was poor in many ways that we look at in America, but rich in other ways. She lived her life to it's fullest. An illiterate person, permitted in the U.S. only by her green card, she managed to find work, save and build for her and her daughter a comfortable existence. She was proud of America and during her dying months she went to school and became a citizen. A lifelong dream fulfilled.

Rosa was very proud of her paid for home, and displayed that pride in her gardening and yardwork.

When I first married her daughter Sharon, I vividly recall standing in Rosa's front yard, amazed at all of the trees, shrubs, flowers and that cushiony lush lawn. I remember beginning to count the trees in her front and back yards, and amazed that there were over 100 trees of numerous varieties. All of which she dug the holes and planted herself.

While she lay very sick at home, I saw that her yard was slowly dying with her. It was very upsetting for me, so I promised Rosa I would maintain her yard and try to bring it back to it's former beauty.

Rosa eventually ended up back in the hospital, she needed surgery to allow her to be tube fed. She just could not hold down her food anymore. Eventually she moved into a nursing home. I knew she really missed her home and yard, so I always told her how the lawn was greening up again and about the different trees and shrubs and what they now looked like. Over the years I learned from Rosa about taking care of trees and lawns, but I never had the interest she had in it. Until now....

Not one tree, plant or area of lawn has died off at Rosa's house. But we did lose that one flower.

I for one will miss that Rose.