The ABC Cancer Diaries

A young, American-Born-Chinese woman living with metastatic breast cancer

Tending the garden June 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — stevenwaseda @ 10:19 pm

Wynne use to enjoy gardening.  Actually, I had no idea she was into gardening, and then one year she announced she was going to grow tomatoes and basil and some other things.  And she did, right on our balcony.

The tomatoes I referred to as the “Hundred dollar tomatoes” because, when we went on a trip to Munich in the middle of the summer, she asked my brother Greg to water the plants for the week we were gone, which turned out to be a hot, sunny week.  However, after arriving in Munich, Greg got in touch and pointed out that we had inadvertently locked the lock on our door for which he did not have the key.  The only option was to somehow express mail the right key to him ASAP which, after explaining the situation to the German post office and learning the price ($100), Wynne insisted that we do (which I grudgingly agreed to).  Hence the $100 tomatoes.

That brings us to the recent present.  I know little if anything about gardening, though I’ve thought it would be nice to grow something out on our balcony if only because Wynne used to.  A month or so ago a neighbor who sometimes babysits for Helen mentioned that he likes to start tomato plants in his apartment but has no outdoor space so he gives them away.  He asked if I’d like a tomato plant.  Also some hops, which apparently grows up and around the rail if you let it.  I said sure, and one day he and his wife brought them over, fully potted and everything (along with some good Munich beer, coincidentally).

Since then, I’ve been watering the tomato and hops plants every day, and now it’s turned into a routine with Helen.  Every morning after I get her up, we go out and water the plants together.  She starts yelling, “A-ga!  A-ga!” (aka “agua,” the Portuguese word for water).  She hands me the water can.  I fill it up, and she helps me pour the water.  She also likes to put her hand and arm under the stream when I pour from high up.  It’s evolved into a nice daily routine where we get to honor and remember and connect with Wynne.

There aren’t any trips planned for Munich this summer, so hopefully the tomato plant will flourish and grow and we’ll be able to eat them together (though Helen isn’t so into tomatoes and other raw veggies at the moment, but we’ll sneak it into her somehow).

“There’s only two things that money can’t buy.  And that’s true love and home grown tomatoes.”

-Guy Clark

One more shot of Helen with her recent super-ponytail: