Thursday, May 11, 2006

May 11

Today is the five year anniversary of my mother's death. It is still fresh in many ways, although I have grown to accept this reality. We have no other choice, of course. We simply must accept and go on. Life is for the living, as she was fond of saying.

I was blessed to have a mother who always acted as if I were the most important thing in her world. What an incredible gift of love and security.

There have been a few occasions since she died when I have smelled flowers in my home when none were present, and felt her nearby. The first time was in my bedroom, near the foot of my bed, not too long after she died. It was the scent of wild violets, which she loved. I have wild violets in my back yard and adore them.

Most recently, near her birthday on April 24, I smelled flowers in my dining room. The scent was strongest near the doorway where her photo hangs on one wall beside it. But it wasn't wild violets this time, it was the scent of roses.

This night, as I was going to the kitchen for a glass of water before I went to bed, I smelled the scent very strongly as I went through the door of the dining room. I was sure I had forgotten a candle or some potpourri or something. But, I searched the room to find nothing that was scenting the room.

When I got closer to the photo, I could smell it more strongly. It happened three nights over the course of a week, always at night. It took me by surprise every time as they were not times I was intensely thinking about my mom.

We always wore roses on mother's day. It's a southern tradition - you wear red if your mother is living and white if your mother is dead. We buried her on Mother's Day and I wanted her to have a corsage in the casket. I don't know why I wanted that, but I did. My brothers were fine with it and if they thought it odd they didn't say anything. Thank God the three of us moved through that time as a family in agreement, without fighting or arguing.

When you're in the midst of all that grief you don't know why some things matter, but they matter more than you can imagine. My nephew, Johnny, wanted he and the other grandsons to carry the casket. They did. It was important to him in the same way the corsage was important to me. I doubt he can explain that any more than I can explain the corsage of white roses. You just have to hope that the things you're doing to help you don't disturb anyone else and that everyone can have what they need to process the grief.

The white rose bush I planted last year is doing well.