Ten years ago today we buried my mother. It was a beautiful spring day, just like she loved. She was buried with her Mother’s Day corsage in place – three white roses – one for each of her children.
The things that matter to you in times of grief are odd. For reasons I still can’t explain I wanted her to have a Mother’s Day corsage. The rest of the family accepted that, even though I’m not sure they understood it. I don’t even understand it, so why should anyone else. I got her one every year, and for some reason I wanted to get her one last one.
As it turned out, the previous year I had been in Kentucky on Mother’s Day, not something that was a given. It’s one of those “there are no accidents” kind of experiences.
In the fall of 1999 I was in Guatemala and met a man from Washington State while traveling to Tikal. We stayed in touch and planned a trip together through the south the following spring. So, I went to my mom’s and spent a few days – including Mother’s Day – before going to pick him up at the airport in Nashville. Had I not met Jim, had we not planned a trip, it’s likely I would not have been with my mom on what turned out to be her last Mother’s Day.
I’ve not worn a Mother’s Day corsage since then, and I doubt I ever will again. On Mother’s Day in the south it’s traditional to wear a corsage with red roses if your mother is living, and white if your mother is dead.
When I bought my house some months later I planted a white rose bush in the front flowerbed. It has bloomed every year in time for Mother’s Day. I think that’s as close to a corsage of white roses as I want to get..