Today is the first day of Spring! And you know what’s coming – flowers.
One of my strongest, little girl memories is being in my Nana’s garden. When I was a young, my Nana (grandmother in Italian) had a flower garden in Chicago. Her house had a postage size lot, but she grew flowers along the perimeter of her walkway and backyard. She had a green thumb – growing roses, petunias, tulips, pansies and gardenias. Her prize accomplishments were her pink, striking peonies. The blooms were large and full – surely prize winning. She took care of her flowers with tender adoration. She’d smile ear to ear as we walked through her heavenly haven.
Probably the best gifts that she gave me were cuts from her garden. Our family would be preparing to leave after a visit. She’d pull me aside, walked me through the garden and selected choice flowers for me to take home. The peonies were the best gifts of all … because she treasured them.
Flowers have a mystical, magical, intimate and even spiritual quality about them. We are tied to people historically through flowers. Poems are written about them and thousands of paintings have been drawn of them. Flowers are gifts in all of life’s circumstances: births, high school dances, graduations, weddings, stage performances and hospital stays. They even follow us to our funerals and gravesites.
So, when death announcements say “in lieu of flowers,” I breathe a sad sigh. Often, the goal is to ask for charity donations in the memory of the deceased. I think donating to causes is wonderful and needs to be done.
Yet, why in lieu of flowers? Why not in addition to flowers?
As you can imagine, with three family members passing away this last year, I’ve received many flowers. I have cherished each one of them. There is something warm, beautiful, hopeful and comforting about these colorful masterpieces. And many smell amazing.
Let’s be honest – death and loss are depressing. Although cut flowers are not permanent, they add visual warmth to a painful circumstance. Personally, I can be a rebel and don’t always obey the rules. I like to send flowers even when I’m told not to!
Going through a season of many, fresh losses, my way of being extravagant is to buy cut flowers each week. When selecting them, my thoughts focus on Leah. Here’s this week’s bouquet.
One of the most emotional and meaningful gifts that I received, after Leah passed away, was a heart necklace. In the center of the heart are pieces of dried flowers that adorned the chapel at Leah’s funeral service. Two of her friends gave me this uniquely thoughtful necklace. It will always be a treasured piece of jewelry.
Today, if you are grieving a loss, splurge. Buy yourself some flowers in honor of spring. Whether your loss was a day, week, month, year, five or 10 years ago – give yourself a present. For whatever the loss: whether your loss was a loved one, friend, job, marriage, relationship, pet, do something nice for yourself. You are worth it. If you can’t bring yourself to do it for yourself, buy a bouquet for a someone for whom you care. They can surely use a lift and you will surely receive a smile in return.