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They Don’t Complain and They Die Quietly
October 9, 2010, 7:03 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

A touching article on Vegetable gardening by Derek Powazek

When I was young, I knew two things for sure about my dad. The first was that he was weird. He wasn’t like my friend’s dads. The second was that he loved plants.

There were always plants in our house. A vegetable garden in back, and plants in every room. I didn’t think anything of it, really. I thought it was normal for a dad to come home from work and spend an hour in the yard, watering. It’s what dad’s do.

I remember planting seeds in the vegetable garden with him. He taught me to put two seeds in every hole, because sometimes plants didn’t make it. Understanding plants means understanding death.

This was in the 80s when my dad was working at City of Hope. My dad’s a psychologist who did groundbreaking early work to prove that cancer treatments had cognitive effects. To do this, he worked with kids who were dying of Leukemia. He watched them die, one after another. And then he came home to his kids, who were about the same age.

So he stood in his garden, still wearing his work clothes, tie loosened around his neck, and watered his plants, crying when no one was looking.

My dad was not like other dads because he watched kids just like his die for a living. I always wondered why my dad so often told me that life was fragile, temporary, and precious. Now I know

In the 90s, when I was about to move away to college, I finally asked him why he had so many plants. He answered, “They don’t complain, and they die quietly.

They Don’t Complain and They Die Quietly

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