My mother had a green thumb. Alas, I did not inherit it. I inherited her poor sense of direction and her love of art, but in my hands, plants wilt and wither.

She was so proud of her gardens. Roses, irises and hydrangeas were favorites. Her vases were often filled with blooms clipped from her rose bushes.

Curiously enough, my aunt says that my mother didn’t always have a green thumb, despite a lifelong love of flowers. I don’t know what the secret to her transformation was — question #364 that I wish I’d thought to ask my mom when she was alive.

After she died, an old friend of hers from California shared with me that my mother gifted her two rose bushes over a decade ago, and that they bloomed still. Little stories like that are a gift. And my mother was a flower.


“This is how I want her to be remembered”

Illustration by Mercedes Leon
Commissioned by Charlene Lam in memory of my mother Marilyn