I received an amaryllis bulb when I graduated from the Mercer County Master Gardener program in 2006; it was supposed to bloom at Christmastime, and it did, rather spectacularly. Then it died back.
I was pregnant with Catherine at the time; she was due the first week in February. We came home from the hospital in February 2007, empty handed, and for some odd reason, a surprise amaryllis blossom greeted us from the kitchen window. The plant had some greenery on it at the time, but nothing that looked like a bud, late in January that year, more than a month after the showy cycle of blooms. I was physically and emotionally depleted after Catherine's birth and death, and the unexpected bloom in February angered me: why should it thrive, but not my child?
The plant totally died back that summer, and, for awhile, the bulb nested in the dirt felt lifeless and hollow, but I hung onto it, unsure if it was alive; I never had an amaryllis before, and was so tired of death, any kind of death, that I couldn't stand the thought of giving up on it too soon. I stuck it in the kitchen window, hoping to put it out of my mind, while giving it a chance to regenerate. Our kitchen is small, though, and so, that unattractive pot of dirt was never out of sight, and has been a constant reminder of my daughter.
I noticed earlier this month a green stalk started to emerge, with a knob on the end; out of the blue, and completely out of season. This weekend, a large peach-colored bloom opened up, flanked on each side by two other buds. The second bud bloomed last night, and looked lovely in the partly cloudy sunlight entering from behind it this morning when I photographed it.
Today is the first anniversary of my mother's death. I think of her every day, without any sort of reminder. I miss her, even her confrontational nuttiness. I don't believe the amaryllis in my kitchen has any sort of special powers, or connection with the spirit world, but now that it's bloomed out of season twice, and on very important dates for me, I realize there is, if nothing else, so much in life I don't understand. One thing I may not understand is how to properly care for amaryllis so that it blooms when it should, but there is so much more I have yet to understand, as well.