There’s a fine line between hope and desperation. When does hope tumble into desperation? Is it a slow slide or precipitous fall? Lately, it feels like the latter.

I went today to buy potting mix and a new pot for a dying orchid. My goal was to save an orchid that once belonged to my beloved Aunt Dot. The leaves began to fall and the roots dried up while I was away on vacation, leaving a bare stem with three green leaves. The leaves are firm and verdant, signs of life that I’m now clinging to.

My heart hurts to look at it, as if I’m looking at my Aunt in her last days. Desperation is what I felt then. Desperate for her release from pain, and desperate to keep her here. The giant gaping hole in my heart is jagged around the edges, and I’m beginning to realize it will never heal.

I’d been doing better lately. She died in October. It shouldn’t hurt this bad anymore. I spent the past weekend at her home visiting my family. I made biscuits like she taught me and tried my hand at making fresh ice cream, just like she did every Fourth of July. The biscuits were great, but the ice cream was a miss. I’d never used the churner, and I filled the ice up too high allowing the rock salt to seep into the canister of ice cream, ruining it. When I was trying to figure out the recipe and how to use the churn, I wanted so badly to ask my Aunt how she did it. Sometimes, you don’t realize just how much you’ve lost until the little things add up. It’s all those little things that keep opening the hole in my heart.

So, the orchid, will it bloom again? I hope, so. I really hope, so.

I miss you my dearest Aunt Dot.