As I sit here writing this morning there are two pale pink roses in a vase, on the lamp table next to my chair. One is for my Mother, and the second is for me. A dear friend gave me the two roses yesterday, an act of kindness beyond her knowledge of the moment’s meaning for me. My Mom passed away a few days ago so I’m learning what that empty space feels like. I’m learning the permanence of that, the sadness of it.
What my friend didn’t know was that the Rose has always been a symbol and reminder of Mom and how I loved her. Soft beauty and protective thorns in a singularly winsome package. When I was five years old and our family lived in a rental house on East Burnside in Portland, Oregon, the front yard was adorned with several rose bushes. I can still remember the thick, rich smell of the roses in bloom. Mom loved that scent.
One day I took a mixing bowl out into the front yard. I added a pint or so of tap water from a spigot. Then I picked several roses, pulled the petals from the flowers and kneaded them into the water. I was creating a batch of “Rose Perfume” for Mom. When I presented it to her she smelled it, cooed over it, and thanked me profusely for the elegant concoction. That was my Mom, in a moment, yet forever.
My friend knew none of this when she gave me the two roses. But everything is connected, everything belongs. There are no coincidences. Life is full of living symbols-- ordinary moments and things that miraculously connect us to the Deep and the Sacred. You might call them sacraments. So today I am unexpectedly gifted with the sacrament of two roses, one for me, one for Mom. All is well, and all shall be well.
Mom, you will always be my Rose.