Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Flowers for...

The other day, I thought I'd put some flowers at the place where my mother's ashes are kept.

I haven't brought flowers there for a long time; most of the recent times I've gone have been on the spur of the moment, after any sane florist's normal business hours.

"Why put flowers there?" is a question I've often asked myself in the past. It isn't for her; my mum isn't even present at this place. Then... for whom? The squirrels and snails that populate the shrubbery nearby?

Still, out of habit, when I found myself near a florist's that was open, I walked in all set to buy the usual white daisies.

A couple of minutes later, I stepped out with gerberas instead: I used to be so one-track-minded that "no daisies" would mean "leave without buying any flowers". But somehow, that day I was so drawn to their joyful, elegant appearance that I didn't want to leave without them.

Now that I think about it, gerberas were the last planting project my mother undertook, and the one in which I had the most part. When I was younger, I had so little interest in gardening you'd think I was suffering generational PTSD from the Eden incident. But with the gerberas, it was different. For some reason, I took a liking to them, and they flourished.

Then her cancer came back, we had other things to do than watering, weeding and pruning, and the gerberas died.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I wondered again exactly what the reason behind putting flowers at her place is, and couldn't find an answer that satisfied me.

At home later, I found an old glass vase from my mother's huge repository of "cosmetic collectibles", just the right height and width to hold three gerberas. For the rest of the week, their presence was a sweet reminder that life isn't only for the living, but that it's for living. Yes, silly me, I'd begun to forget. Again.

Image by Danny de Bruyne, StockXchange

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