The Flowers.

I’ve always loved the spring.  The new and the fresh.  Everything begins again.  What is passed, has been wiped away by the harsh, wet, cold and unforgiving of winter.

We clean and we plan in the spring.  A seed can go in the ground and grow into the beauty of a young plant.  As it grows and gains an identity, it brings forth flowers and blossoms.  Everyone looks closely at the budding flower.  We inhale the beauty, do a double take.  We stop and admire the colors, the scents.  Bees are attracted and pollinate.  At that moment in time, all is right with the world.

As spring morphs into summer, the plant produces many, many buds.  The flowers attract romantics, poets, artists, musicians, authors and admirers galore.  We all appreciate and drink in the beauty.

The flowers might be cut at their peak and brought indoors.  They are placed in elaborate arrangements or alone.  We inhale their fragrance and delight in their beauty.  We try to preserve them.  Some create imitations as a form of art.

But just like everything else, the flower has a life span.  Once cut, it will begin to wilt.  We can do everything we want to preserve it.  We feed it and set it in just the right temperature and environment.  Ultimately, though, no matter our efforts, the flower will leave us.  We all know this.  We don’t talk about it.

The “hallmark” moments, commemorated on cards, do not carry the image of the wilted flower.  They do not carry the photo of the flower with the dried edges, the blemishes, the defects. We don’t relish those.  We don’t buy them.

We glance over them, in the quest for that perfect rose.  The one which is ever beautiful and preserved in the moment of time that it was captured at full blossom.  The blossom of youth.

People and flowers are often treated the same.  We do not put the 78 year old, wheelchair-bound, woman on the cover of Cosmo or Vogue.  We do not serenade 78 year old women with “Easy, breezy, Cover Girl” as they twirl around in their wheelchairs, smiles on their faces, with their hair windblown on a television screen.

We don’t want to look there.  That is not spring. There is no guidebook for those of us left to care for these flowers.  There is no glamour.  There are no discussions.  We hide these flowers, wilting and dried edges, behind closed doors.  We toss them away.

Because they make us sad.  They cause us fear.  And yet, these flowers have the most detailed and beautiful stories to tell.  They radiate knowledge and glamour from within.  Eventually, the water in their vases gets low.  Their stems quit carrying nutrients there.  Or they just won’t take the water in anymore.

The florist comes.  He asks us what to do with the wilted flowers.  Shall we leave them on their own to wilt?  We are not killing them.  They will die naturally. Or we can continue artificially injecting them with nutrients for as long as possible.

We are not ready to face that question.  It is not our decision.  It is not fair.  It hurts.  Reality hurts.

One has to find faith.  To view the tiny flower as part of an unending Universe.  A Universe so full of mathematical perfection that it could not exist by chance.  It becomes imperative to reach out and know that God will carry us in hard times.  That he is holding on to us as we struggle and we cry.

The view must be of a greater good to come.  Without that perspective, you are compelled to look into an empty void of nonexistence.  And what good will that serve you if you are right?

It is not a matter of right or wrong.  One has to look beyond what is science and feel it deep within oneself.  Faith demands strength.

Strength that there is more than we can see or understand.  Strength to make it past the most difficult journeys of life.  Strength to know that as we infuse the flower with the nutrients of life, perhaps the flower will smile in the Sun, radiate in the calm and find peace as we give it all the love and comfort we can.

The flower may never know the effort we have made to give it everything we could.  But we will know we tried. God will know.  We must have faith that in another spring, we will see the flower again, blooming and full of life.

Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.

Albert Einstein

[On January 14, 2012, I went with my father to admit my mother to the hospital yet again.  Her Parkinson’s has advanced to the point where she is no longer able to swallow.  She is seeing and hearing things the rest of us cannot.  She knows who I am and who my father is, but others who we cannot see are with her as well.  She will be given a feeding tube and will no longer eat food or drink liquids.  This decision had to be made.  I am trying to remain strong for my father.  He is an atheist.  I am a Catholic.  It isn’t easy.]


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About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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28 Responses to The Flowers.

  1. blogginglily says:

    Sorry, Karen. I wondered why we hadn’t been hearing as much from you lately. Too bad it’s never. . . Won the lottery, and needed to meet with accountants to determine where to invest. *Hugs*

  2. Teresa says:

    Hugs and prayers to your family. My mother in law had Parkinson’s. It was difficult to watch her decline; knowing that her brain was still working but she couldn’t get the words and thoughts out. Stay strong.

  3. Kelly says:

    Sending so much love and support your way, Karen. Have you heard that saying “God never gives more than we can handle?” Well, sometimes I think that is straight up bologna. I’ll be thinking about you and yours.

  4. Flannery says:

    Wishing you much strength and peace.

  5. Again, an amazing post. Having lost my mother myself 5 years ago when she was 53, it’s hard. So hard.
    XO
    Stay strong.

  6. Lizbeth says:

    Ohhh Karen, I’m so sorry. Know I am thinking of you and your family. Hugs, hugs, hugs.

  7. Kara says:

    Please know my thoughts are with you. I’m so sorry you are going through this. Much love to you.

  8. Jen says:

    I’m so sorry Karen. Such a beautiful post. We’re all thinking of you in this difficult time.

  9. Jennie B says:

    This is a beautiful post, and such heart-wrenching decisions you are dealing with. Sorry you are going through this now, and I am thinking of you all.

  10. solodialogue says:

    Thank you all. You have brought tears to my eyes in a “good” way. Today, she goes home by medical transport (ambulance) to wait for Plavix (a blood thinner) to get out of her system and then will return for the surgery for the feeding tube by the end of the week, I think. These words of support help lift me up and let me know I’m not alone in this. ❤ to you all!!

  11. Karen, I’m so so sorry you’re going through this! Best wishes from our family to yours. **cyber hugs from far away**

  12. Caryn says:

    Oh, you sweet thing. Normally, I’m full of the words and the “make it all better”. I hate it when I’m not. The best thing I can say is, “I’m here for ya.. any time, day or night. You know how to reach me.”

  13. Broot says:

    ((hugs)) I think it’s the hardest thing.

  14. Denise says:

    Karen,
    So sorry to hear about your mom, how hard for all of you. Your mom and dad are so lucky to have you close!
    Sending lots of love and prayers to the 3 of you!!!

  15. Meg says:

    Oh ~ Karen!

    I have been missing you so appreciate that you posted this on fb to get me back in the rider’s seat! Your family is so lucky to have you near, and I my thoughts and prayers are going out to you ~ I hope this year becomes lighter and easier. love, MEg

  16. Aspie Mom says:

    Our days seem harsh and painful, but week after week, your words lovingly remind us, with wisdom and insight, of the love beneath, the community around, the hope ahead. Each of us waits for these posts as a light in our day.

    And now you give us the same gift, for a journey each of us has (or will) make.

    If we had the gift, each of us would write today, especially for you, the words that would soothe your heart, as your words do ours.

  17. solodialogue says:

    What an amazing outpouring of loving support from this beautiful community. Each one of you have lifted my heart and my spirit as I continue through this surreal journey. Thank you so much. It is true that if you ask, you will receive. I had but to ask for your support and each of you gave it so graciously. I truly am blessed and I have plenty of love in my heart for each of you.

    PS- Aspie Mom – you have the gift and you did soothe me with your words.

    • Aspie Mom says:

      I am sad the word surreal already comes to you.

      Please try to believe that the hard journey of walking with someone to their death, and giving them the extreme gift of a peaceful, dignified death, is one of the most intimate and loving of life’s experiences, one of the richest, the one time you can pour your love onto another and feel that it is enough to be there, to hold their hand.

      My wish for you is that you arrive there intact, with your mother intact, accompanied by great hospice care, so you can fully love your mother, and she can feel peace, and the warmth of your hand.

      • solodialogue says:

        The feeding tube will keep her with us longer. She is not really “with” us a lot but the lucid moments are hard. Thank you for your beautiful words.

  18. Karla (Mom2MissK) says:

    Oh, Karen. I am so sorry. I don’t even have words.

    I will be thinking of you and your family and sending my strength and prayers.

  19. Just getting caught up on blogs today, and was so sad to read this. Thinking of you!!!

  20. Monica says:

    Dearest Neighbor, I will be praying for your Mom & you & your Father today. My heart aches for you. So many of us care about You and your precious Tootles too! You are surrounded by Love & Prayers. ~Monica. ~~Hugs~~

  21. Sue says:

    Sending you prayers to help you through this very difficult time. I know the heartache of those hard decisions. It is never easy no matter how prepared we think we are.

  22. Oh Karen, I’m so so sorry. I was once a carer for (mainly elderly) adults with disabilities, and I know how hard the end of life is. What I can’t imagine is going through it with my own parents. These decisions aren’t easy, and come at the hardest of times. I’m thinking of you. ((hugs))

  23. eof737 says:

    These are gorgeous Karen… Ah for the spring! 😉

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