There is a tropical plant that hangs near the southern facing window adjacent to the desk where my teenage son had, until very recently, spent the majority of his time.

This plant was healthy and happy, shooting vines and sprouting leaves, practically bursting from every direction with new and vibrant life.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that my beloved plant – the crown jewel in the small collection of plants I’ve managed to keep alive – was suddenly dropping yellow leaves with alarming momentum. I regularly pruned away what was dying, but the plant would not respond positively to my triage.

This morning, as I was urgently tending to another round of affected foliage, lamenting the further demise of this beautiful, living being that I have cared for diligently for practically the entirety of our time here this tiny apartment palace, a shocking realization flooded my mind when I saw something I hadn’t noticed before.

Nearly every one of the vines on this poor pothos of mine had attempted to produce new roots, a clear indication to even a novice horticulturalist like myself that the plant had outgrown its container. It had tried to propagate itself and I missed every single one of the signs until the plant had no choice but to whither. I was too busy admiring the grandness of its bounty, never recognizing that in order to sustain its rate of maturation, it needed more space.

Is there a more sobering thought than unintentionally ignoring repeated requests for support from someone something you love?

I wish I could have known better, sooner. But I didn’t. I had absolutely no idea.

After trimming two of the remaining vines, I placed them in a jar of fresh water hoping the threadlike tendrils just beginning to emerge will flourish in this different environment.