The vase needs water; at this rate, the flowers won’t last much longer. So I pick up the glass vase, still full of greens, reds, purples and yellows, and bring it to the sink. I lift up the stems, trying to avoid the thorny ones, and stream some fresh water in from the tap. I bring it back to its spot on the wide, flat windowsill, and admire the way it is a lively contrast to the bare, winter-naked trees just outside.
I only have one vase, at least that’s the way it seems. I’ve gotten a few over the years but they’re scattered somewhere, surely full of dust, and one full of old palms that have become crispy over time. I didn’t want to risk a pile of palms crumbling all over my living room floor, so all of the flowers have gone in the one remaining vase.
The red roses are the freshest, just a few days old. Lovely and plump for Valentine’s Day, straight from the grocery store (my unironic favorite – seriously, grocery store flowers last a long time!) along with armfuls of goodies for the kids. Then come the baby’s breath, then bunched in the middle is the wildflower bouquet from the neighbor, marking the four years it’s been since my mother died. She’s so sweet to remember, every year, without fail – one of the only ones who doesn’t need a Facebook post to be reminded. This year was harder than the last, I think, for reasons I am not entirely sure of, and so this year the flowers (and their lovely colors, both ordinary and extraordinary at the same time) were especially welcome.
Such a simple thing, flowers in a vase, sitting on a windowsill. But it does not escape me that the roses, given to me on a day that signifies love, surround the flowers that remind me of loss. In this vase, love and loss do not exist without the other. I didn’t plan that arrangement. I really just pushed the flowers in where they fit, but there it is just the same; and it is because of this particular mix of flowers that I feel especially grateful today: that I am on all sides cared for and loved during the moments of my life that are the hardest.
My wish and hope for you is the same: may you always be surrounded by love and beauty, even in the most difficult of times.
Until next time, be well!
About the author: Christy Gualtieri is a freelance writer specializing in pop culture, religion, and motherhood. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and two children. Christy also blogs at asinglehour.wordpress.com and tweets @agapeflower117. You can follow her here on eTalkTherapy for inspirational articles and different perspectives as they relate to good mental health.