Edelweiss (Leontopodium* nivale)

*the scientific name is a latinisation of the Greek leontopódion, “lion’s paw”.

From: Penelope Fitzgerald – a Life (2013) by Hermione Lee:

“…a birthday poem which she wrote in 1999 for her eleven-year-old granddaughter Sophie…

This is a bunch of edelweiss

Which must have lived with snow and ice –

The edelweiss grows very high,

But you can get there if you try –

I know you will, I know you can –

With love and confidence from Gran.

…By 1998 she was becoming very ill...Her 1999 diary is scattered with (medical) appointments…- which she often cancelled…

On 29 March 2000, she wrote a letter…mentioning that Ria wanted to repaint the walls of her flat while she went on her annual holiday with the Dooleys in April: ‘I’d hoped they might last me out, but she says not.’ A few days later, she had a stroke…

On 28 April…towards six o’clock, they told her they were going out for a cup of tea, kissed her, said ‘We’re off now’, and left her to herself. When they came back, she had died…

On 10 October 2000, a packed memorial service was held at St James’s Church, Piccadilly…”

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