Looking Back (Facebook post 12/11/17)
My dad died in November 1997 — the day before his birthday. Our ‘firsts’ hit hard and fast. Thanksgiving was spent at Ken’s and my home in Dallas. Then, my brother and his wife took my mom back to Minnesota. In their cozy home with a floppy Christmas tree, they did their best to comfort her throughout December and its celebrations without our dad — her birthday, her wedding anniversary, Christmas (for which Ken and l joined them), New Year’s Eve, Sean’s birthday, and the birth of their first grandson, Parker, fell in rapid (almost weekly) order.
This morning, as l celebrate my parents’ wedding anniversary l remember my dad’s yearly gift of roses — one red for each year of marriage, a yellow for each child... and eventually white for their daughter- and son-in-law, and pink for their first grandchild.
The sweet scent of Bachman’s roses only enhanced the festive spirit in our home. Each year, we’d marvel at my mom’s month of celebrating — her birthday, her wedding anniversary, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve!
Twenty years later, my mom is back in Minnesota. Today, there would be 52 red, two yellow, two white, and four pink roses to celebrate the day. And though he was ever practical and often frugal, my dad would most certainly have delivered (though after they moved to Houston, he mused at the [ahem] affordability of street-side rose vendors).
This morning, l think of my mom celebrating her anniversary (and other events of the season) without her groom. And, l think of so many (too many) who are celebrating this season in the midst of tremendous grief. And, though l love my own words, a lot, l want to offer this poem (a poem!): Echo by Christina Rossetti. And, I wish my mom and you (who are grieving the loss of your bride or groom) a happy day and a good night filled with the sweetest dreams.