Thirteen years ago my mother passed away from cancer. She was forty six years old. (Don’t worry, this will get better!) My mother was an amazing artist who loved nature and enjoyed spending time in her gardens the most. As with all who are touched by illness, it was shocking when we got the news.
In the coming months we did what all families do in times of struggle, we hoped, we prayed and we did what we could to make things better. Actually, looking back I feel that no one believed that she would or could be gone in a little over a year. September came and she went.
Standing in the front row of the 70 person church with hundreds of people waiting to get inside I lost track of the chatter and the commotion. I found myself fixated on a single pale pink rose from her garden which resting in her casket spray. I thought about the summer before when she and I were standing in the sun smiling and she was admiring how the roses matched the color of my 8 month old daughter's skin tone (always an artist!).
In typical east coast fashion, we made our way out of the church to the graveside and said our prayers and goodbyes. Before leaving the grounds for the dinner I took this rose and tucked it into my car for safe keeping.
When I got to her home, I stood in her empty studio. It was so strange standing there in silence among all of her things, that were now my things. I pulled out one of her Leonardo Di Vinci books and I carefully pressed the rose from her service in the pages for safe keeping.
Life had a lot of ups and downs in the next thirteen years. From time to time I would get to missing my mother and I would go to the da Vinci book and look at the rose. Though the color had faded, the memories and the comfort it brought me never did.
Then it happened....somehow through life challenges, changes of address and shuffling about, I misplaced the book! One day I went to look at the garden rose...and it was gone. I was heart broken.
Three years later my husband found the book!
Imagine my surprise and happiness when he came through the door holding the da Vinci book that held the rose which I thought was gone forever! I quickly looked in its pages and I found it.
It was still intact...she was still there.
I wasted no time, I brought the rose to
Lil’ Pear Tree the very next morning. I was determined to never let that rose out of my sight again. The flower was made into several beads. One for me and several for my daughters (you know, for some day!).
The pressed flower was restored to its original color and now is no longer pressed in a book. Gone are the days of worrying if it is safe or if it has disintegrated or fearing it getting wet! It is a durable, wearable memory. I can (and do) take the memory of my mother with me just about every day when I wear my rose bead.
And that is the story of my wearable memory.