Saturday, January 14, 2017
Part 5: "The Flowers"
Typically, while at the funeral home, you order the floral spray or flower arrangements you want to have delivered to your loved ones service. I looked through the floral books, but none of them said "Rowan" to me. So I decided to do his flowers myself.
Zoe and I went to Travis Wholesale Florist a few days later, and she helped me choose all of Rowan's favorite colors and flowers, to place on order. It was not just a distraction, it was therapeutic, healing and actually almost made us happy for a moment. It's difficult to be sad looking at all of the different colors, textures, heights, and beautiful styles of flowers that God created. It reminded me of something Rowan said once about how creative God was. "How did God create all these different types of big foots, Nessies, bugs, animals and people? He's amazing. So creative. I can't wait to meet him. He can really give me great ideas of things to draw when I'm bored.".
The following week, we picked up the buckets of flowers from Travis Wholesale Florist. They made me smile.
Arranging the flowers was so therapeutic. I have done the flowers for just 2 weddings, but I have always enjoyed working with flowers. Designing the flowers for around Rowan's casket, was one of the last gifts I could give him. I knew that I wanted them to be bright, cheery, orange, green, white and blue. Orange because it was his favorite color, green because he loved nature and walking in the woods, white because it represented a fresh start (the final shirt he designed before his second transplant, he chose white for a clean slate/fresh start), and blue for his beautiful, amazingly blue, "special eyes" (as he humbly called them:). The bells of Ireland were a must because he was so very proud to be Irish. And the kale reminded me of him painting with kale in our kitchen when he was just 3 years old.
The final result just exuded "Rowan" to me. They were as bright and cheery as he was. They didn't look like typical, memorial flowers. They could have been for a baby shower, a birthday party, a wedding...any celebration. And that was what I needed. I needed to represent Rowan's life, as God designed it...positive, light, beautiful and colorful. I think I did a pretty good job.
I did the two large arrangements that would sit on either side of his casket, and Zoe did a special one for right in the middle, on the altar, just behind his casket.
The one Zoe did, was one that was sponsored by two individuals. The day after Rowan passed, we ate at Rowan's favorite restaurant, a Greek restaurant called "Costa's". Every outpatient trip to Seattle we ever had, Rowan and I ate at Costa's at least once or twice a day...every day! He loved their hash browns so much! The owners knew us well and had been anxiously awaiting his discharge from the hospital. So, when I finally showed up 6 months later and had to tell them he was gone...you can imagine their grief. We hugged, we cried, we prayed. Before I left, one of the family owners handed me money and asked me to get him some flowers from them. I agreed. Then, just before we left Seattle we also met with one of Rowan's favorite hospital staff members...a CNA, named Jai. Rowan and he had such a special connection. One of Rowan's middle of the night "thank you"s (4 am to be exact), we later learned, is what made Jai reconsider staying in his profession. He was having a very difficult night and Rowan's voice, thanking him for taking his vitals, changed the course of his night, and eventually of his career. As we left town, Jai also handed me a card for Rowan with money for flowers for him as well.
Jai, you are a sweet, gifted man, who is a tremendous blessing to patients and their families. Please remember how much you connected with Rowan, and keep doing what you are doing. You blessed Rowan and myself immeasurably. If I could tell you thank you every single night at 4 am for the rest of your life, I would...because I know Rowan would too.
Rowan (and Jai, and Costa's), I hope and pray you liked your flowers. I'm pretty sure you did. They reminded me of you so much Rowan. I can't wait to see the many different creations of flowers God has in Heaven, or that you are drawing in your sketchbook up there.
I love you and I miss you.