The beauty of social media as we lived in different cities and took different career paths meant I could follow along as she found love later in life.
This friend’s new husband clearly adored her. That was evident from the photos and adventures she shared.
What wasn’t as shared was that this husband had a thing.
He had a history of rescuing items from the apartment building’s garbage.
Dumpster diving, if you will.
There was the pasta cooker, the rolling igloo cooler, a few kitchen knives.
He couldn’t believe the treasures people were tossing.
Did Friend see the same value?
But she could accept that this was the way this incredible man loved. How he loved her. How he loved the world.
There were limits to her appreciation.
“The first Christmas we were married,” Friend reminisced with me the other day, “he saw a poinsettia plant in the garbage room and asked me to come look at it. It was a sad little plant without a single flower left on it. I knew he had big rescue plans already cooking up in his head. I was clear. I told him, ‘I don’t want this plant. Do not bring it home.’
I went to work. When I got home, it was sitting on our kitchen counter.’”
They would have laughed about that plant for years.
If tragedy had not struck.
Six months after they were married, Friend’s husband died of a massive heart attack. It was as if this heart that loved so big had run out of juice.
In her grief, Friend packed up her life and moved back to her hometown.
She couldn’t bear to leave the poinsettia behind.
It’s been by her side for the last couple of years, refusing to die.
Friend recently took a big job back up in New York.
One look at the still-living plant and she knew it was coming, too.
It hasn’t bloomed once since her husband rescued it from the dumpster. But it now, at least, has earned a name.
“My family calls it, ‘The Plant.’ It’s taken on a life of its own.”
A legend with a purpose.
“I know he’s laughing,” Friend shared, thinking of her husband in heaven.
After a long time of grief and sadness, she’s laughing, too.
She now knows what she could’ve never known that day in the basement.
People toss treasures.
Bodies wear out.
But true love, like that darned plant, never dies.
Oh, to experience a love like that.
What true treasure, indeed.
Daryn Kagan is the author of the book “Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.” Email her at Daryn@darynkagan.com.