Last weekend, the old cactus at my parent's place finally toppled and died. SK was visibly upset and kept saying what a pity.
SK is known for his love for plants and animals. Whenever we visit, the dogs would come running to him for cuddles. No matter how wet or muddy they are, SK would give them his undivided attention.
The cactus was planted by me when we were visiting one weekend about 15 years ago. The kids were very young then. They played and caught spiders while I toiled in the garden. I grew a tiny cactus on the rocky mound beside the big pond. The hard and stony terrain isn't the most ideal place to set up a garden. Over the years, the cactus grew into a giant thorny tree while the other plants perished.
It also survived all kinds of abuse. When the kids were young (and bored), they whacked the cactus with long sticks until white milky sap oozed out. Very often, huge container trucks turning into our cul-de-sac would accidently brush against the plant, causing the branches to snap like twigs. But nothing is more resilient than our cactus. It just kept growing.
I should be the one feeling sad over the demise of my huge cactus. Instead I am filled with nostalgia. Suddenly I remember the excitement of moving into our new house at the farm 20+ years ago. My parents were in their early fifties, still healthy and full of vitality. They had invested their life savings into the 12-acre farm and had no time to lose.
My older brother had just graduated while my younger brother had just entered university. I was single, independent and living my life without a care in the world. All I thought about was how to decorate my new room. It was an exicting time for all of us.
One by one, we got married and moved out. Then my parents became grandparents. They have aged and health problems is beginning to creep up on them. They no longer have the same energy and drive as before. Even my father who has always been very athletic is showing signs of wear and tear.
Now I recall one of mom's favourite sayings: "Time and tide wait for no man."
Sad, but very true.