This week’s memoir was written by my mom, Dale Joan Young:
I was given free reign as very young child to explore my neighborhood. I remembered passing a florist which I decided to visit on one of my walks. The men who owned it were very kind and very patient. I told them that I wanted to buy a flower for my mother and I asked what a chrysanthemum would cost, since that’s what my mother told everyone was her favorite flower. I had less than 50¢ in my pocket. Instead of answering me, I was asked how much money I had. After I told them, they went about making me a gorgeous bouquet, while I stood at the counter smelling their roses.
These men were so kind, that many weeks after I got my allowance, I found myself back in their store buying flowers for my mother. The men loved me because they couldn’t get over a little kid spending her allowance on flowers for her mom for no occasion. They fussed over me and told all their customers about me, and had more fun making the bouquets for me than my mother ever did when she received them. Looking back, I now realize that I went to their store more for the acknowledgement I got from those men and the pleasure I had from smelling their roses, than my desire to please my mother. Nothing ever seemed to satisfy her.
Although I bought her mums, I, however, preferred roses, and always looked forward to smelling them while the florists put together my mother’s bouquet. However, I noticed that when I stayed at the counter long enough, after a few minutes, the roses seemed to lose their scent, and I was convinced that I had stolen it. I couldn’t understand why the kind men who owned the shop, would let me stand there, in plain sight and steal the fragrance from their roses, week after week.
My mother is no longer with us. She died May 13, 2003. I wish I could say I miss her, but I don’t. I get jealous reading tear filled reminiscences on Facebook of how much people miss their mothers, and I long to have had the same feelings, but I don’t. I’m not angry about her neglect any more, and we did come to peace towards the end of her life. I learned that it’s much sadder to have someone die and not feel devastated than it is to be completely crestfallen when someone is gone. The grief is a testimony to the depth of a relationship that has irreparably altered.
Quite a few years have passed since I want to my friends’ florist, and now I tend to my own roses, still enjoying them and longing for their fragrances to overwhelm my senses for however long they will before their smells fade. I know I can come back time and again, and for a few minutes each time, be completely absorbed in their ephemeral grace.