I don't "do" houseplants. I have something of a black thumb, so I don't dare keep the dear things around or I'd kill them for sure.
But a happy exception is this Christmas cactus. Thankfully cacti are tolerant of people like me with black thumbs.
The reason this houseplant graces our home is because it belonged -- in a way -- to my grandmother, who passed away in 1979. It's quite a tangible link to the past.
How did this happen? Well, my aunt (who is now in her 80s) took my grandmother's Christmas cactus after my grandmother passed away. (My grandfather died in 1982.) The plant was huge when my aunt took possession of it, but apparently her "thumb" is comparable to mine when it comes to houseplants, and the cactus was suffering.
At any rate, a few years ago my parents went back east to visit my aunt and other relatives. When my mother (whose thumb is staggeringly green) saw my grandmother's Christmas cactus in such distress, she gave my aunt some pointers on how to revive it. She -- my mother -- also nipped a few of the lobes off the cactus and brought them home, where she potted them and sprouted several new plants.
She gave me this one about three years ago. To my pride, I haven't killed it yet.
So there you have it. This humble plant is a link to my beloved grandparents, who left us so many years ago.
Ain't that something?