Marty's Garden, December 30th, 2020

2020 is, thankfully, coming to an end. COVID-19, shut-downs, masks, political divisions, what a year it has been. No sooner had The Spouse completed six weeks of radiation treatment and we were ready to “get back to normal” or the whole world shut down due to COVID-19. A week later my sister in the Netherlands got devastating news when she was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer and suddenly the world truly looked bleak.   


Because of the virus there were travel restrictions and even if we were able to travel, my sister was under strict quarantine and couldn’t see anyone. She went to the hospital every other week for chemotherapy and was confined to home the rest of the time. My niece and her boyfriend did the grocery shopping for my sister and husband. Months passed by and the response to chemotherapy was encouraging. The tumor shrunk; subsequent MRIs showed the cancer retreating. While 90% of patients with a Stage IV pancreatic cancer diagnosis don’t make it past the first six months, my sister was doing well. Early fall she had major surgery to remove the tumor and a few weeks later, when all the tests came back negative, she got the all clear. A miracle when the world seemed so dark. Sometime next year, as we slowly, hopefully, return to some sense of normalcy, we can travel to Holland again and I get to give my sister a long hug, something I didn’t think I would be able to do ever again earlier this year.


On the cusp of the New Year I walked around my garden. Looking closely, yes, I can see some promise of spring. But what really made my day was the sight of the first primrose flower, hiding under a bit of leaf. Each winter I look for primroses in the grocery stores. Their brightly colored flowers gladden our hearts and tell us if only we wait a little longer, spring flowers will be greeting us outdoors again. Each spring I put these small plants outdoors and last spring was the first year in my garden these plants really took off. None of them disappeared on me; no, they flourished and grew. Even now, in late December, I can see bright green plants dotted around. And there it was, a bright blue flower with a yellow center. A promise of more and better to come in the New Year. I can use some of that! I think we all can.