I never understood the ritual of grave flowers. The one you are planting them for cannot see, smell or find any joy in them. Dad was faithful to plant grave flowers at the foot of the stones, engraved with the names of the ones he loved.
In the month of May, he would gather up a trowel, rake and a basket of new red geraniums—always red geraniums. He said, they were hardy and could weather in the sun.
He would make his way to the old Stevenson Cemetery that sits on a quiet country road and while the robins sang in the trees he would go to work. Wiping the dried grass from the stones, he would carefully plant his fragrant, unseen and unknown offerings.
Flowers that would grow unseen by the grandparents he adored, the mother he lost as a boy, the father he lived to please and the brother who died too young. These were his people and they were gone, yet his love for them was as faithful as the flowers he planted each year. His love weathered in the sun.
I find myself weathering, the days, the weeks, the months, the almost two years since Dad has been gone. Grief is an aching, a longing, as memories come fluttering back like leaves on the wind. Grief is the price you pay for love, and the love makes it worth it.
In the month of May, Mom and I find ourselves making our way down the quiet country road to the old Stevenson Cemetery. We wipe off the dried grass from the gravestone inscribed with his name. The robins sing as we sink our hands down in the dirt, the dirt that holds his ashes, yet he is not there.
We plant the grave flowers, our fragrant offering of pastel impatiens instead of red geraniums, because red geraniums make us too sad.
We plant the grave flowers for him, for the ones he loved, but mostly for us. We need reminding, that the love that binds us is faithful, and the robins still sing their cheerful song.