How quickly the past 365 days have gone by, and also how slowly in many respects. Once again, here we are, on the anniversary of the death of my dear friend Alex.

Alexander Boris Bobroff was born in China in 1941. He was a Russian by birth, and forever proud of it.

The day he died, I sadly dragged myself through my normal day, ever-mindful that my world would never be the same.

It was the last Tuesday of the month, and I was going through the motions of my monthly “Astoria Run.” Often this included stops at Fred Meyer, Home Depot, Costco, Dollar Tree, and wherever else.

This particular day, when I walked into Costco, I turned my cart down the first wide aisle and stopped short. A huge display of rhododendrons caught my eye, and I thought about how much Alex loved gardening.

On impulse, I decided to plant one in his honor. I walked over and selected a sturdy-looking little shrub and placed it in my cart. The picture on the tag said it was purple—Alex’s favorite color.

Bending closer, I read the rhodie’s name: Anah Kruschke. How Russian could a name sound? And I knew, clear to my toes, that it was a sign from Alex. Unashamed, I wept while I finished shopping.

Today Anah, or Alex, as I refer to this plant growing out in my yard where I can see it both coming and going from home, is hanging in there—not an easy feat for a plant now living at a non-gardener’s residence.

Alex and I have enjoyed many long chats this year. He’s a great listener, but then, he always was. RIP my friend.