Monday, August 17, 2015

Flowers of Memory

On August 17, 2003, one of my aunts died suddenly in a car crash.  If she was alive today, she would have been 90 years old.

On August 17, 2012, I devoted a blog post to her memory.  Parts of that post are included in this post below.

Today, I am again thinking of the end of life.

My dear friend from childhood, whom I have known for 52 years, is gravely ill as I write this post.  It remains to be seen if modern medicine, supported by her strong spirit, can pull her through.

On this anniversary, there is always so much that I think about.  I still think of my aunt from time to time. A couple of 2015 updates are in brackets.

The Flowers of Memory

Have you ever planted a flower (or two, or three) for a dearly departed loved one in your life.  I have.  I wonder how many other flower gardeners have.

Two bloggers gave me inspiration for this post. Thank you, Christine at Inspired Life, for the prompt  (the prompt originally came from   Imagine a phone conversation with a relative who has died.  And Marisa, who left a post about a leopard lily given to her by her flatmate, who also died. 

On Wednesday, I wrote a blog post talking about a red dahlia I've grown (digging up tubers every fall) that was given to me by a friend who subsequently died from cancer.  And, I mentioned a hibiscus I planted in honor of a late, dear aunt.
The dahlia, 2015
 If I could have talked to my Aunt M. on the phone on the anniversary in August, 2012, what would I have said?

Maybe something like this:

Dear Aunt M:

I want you to know I still think of you often.  I thought of you earlier this month when we had a mini-family reunion.  We talked to two of your children on Skype.  Isn't that amazing?  You never wanted a computer.  We still wrote letters, you and I.  I haven't written a letter for pleasure since the day you died.

I also want you to know that the special hibiscus I planted in my front yard, in your memory, is blooming very nicely. [Since then, it died]. I remember how proud you were of your hibiscus and your small vegetable garden.  You were in your late 70's, and lived alone, but you got a lot of things done.  You were amazing.

I remember one of the things we did the day before you died. We went to the Saturday farmers market in the Iowa city where you lived.  You loved houseplants, and you saw an orchid.  You almost bought it, but changed your mind and told the farmer you would be back Tuesday, at the next market  Of course, you never made it.

I also wanted you to know about the "Aunt M" plant.  It is a euphorbia and you would be amazed how long it took me to find that out.  You didn't know what it was, either but you had grown it for years and years in your house  You would grow it outdoors every summer, then take cuttings, overwinter them indoors, and repeat the process.

You had been doing that for over 20 years. The visit before you died, you gave me a cutting.  In fact, I forgot it and we drove back just to retrieve the cutting.  We drove home with it, almost 900 miles.  My plants from that cutting are still alive, too. [And they are still thriving in 2015.] I don't put them out every summer, but I thought you would be pleased to know how much those cuttings make me think of you, too.

It was great talking with you, Aunt M.  I hope there is gardening where you are living now.  Heaven wouldn't be heaven without gardens, would it? 

2015 postscript:
But right now, I would rather heaven have one less new inhabitant.


  1. Alana, grief can be a productive thing, and it sounds like you've used your grief to produce beautiful things: the flowers you continue to grow, and your writing. I hope that the health of your friend stabilizes and that you will have her friendship awhile longer. *hugs* to you, my friend.

  2. Hey Alana. I'm sorry to hear about you losing your Auntie under difficult circumstances.
    As a carer, I'm looking after people at the end of their life. We lost a close friend of ours under tragic circumstances on Christmas day last year. There's so much that I'd like to tell her and say to her now, she was a family friend for 15 years. I just hope she knew how much we loved her. I think she did. Jo was actually my Granddad's ex-partner, and even though he died in 2008, we stayed in contact with her for the 7 years afterwards. I miss her terribly.

  3. I'm sorry for the loss of your aunt. We've lost some good friends over the last few years too. I hadn't thought of planting flowers for them but it is a lovely idea.


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