Wednesday, May 16, 2012


You get a lot of flowers when someone dies... beautiful flowers, treasured flowers.

On Saturday, I returned home not even 24 hours into this new and frightening existence and found a dear friend had left a lovely bouquet of orange roses on my doorstep. I held them and smelled them and then with a sadness I noticed the sticker proclaiming 'Guaranteed to last 7 days'. With a huge lump in my throat I silently questioned - 'Am I only meant to think of him for seven days, surely a lifetime is worth more than seven days?'. A lifetime is worth a lifetime and much more...The flowers were beautiful but bitter-sweet.

I didn't think another thing about it till today, when I was hoovering out my car. A Yodel van came down the street and asked for directions to number 27. I told him that was me and he took out a box that was about the same size as Léon! Interflora was written on the side. The bitter-sweet thought popped fleetingly into my mind again and I set it to one side and finished my hoovering, working up the strength to re-confront the thoughts and feelings I had been trying to avoid with my little hoovering distraction...

First I opened the card and saw the names Karen (Grant) and Siobhan (Macdonald)... two of the best friends I have in the world - my breast friends - we shared having our first babies, we shared our divorces and the rebuilding of our lives. You don't get closer than that...

I took a knife and cut into the box. There stood a tree marked - Plant this in remembrance of your dad always. I fell to pieces, crying like a baby. I went up to Thomas who asked what was up and all I could manage to say was 'I got a tree!' He looked quite bemused but just held me till I calmed down.

It was beautiful, already in bloom and big and strong with roots. I wasn't going to last seven days or even seven years - it can outlast me! I didn't know I needed a tree until I got my tree, but I really, really needed a tree. My tree of remembrance. It is hard to imagine already how much the tree means to me. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to move house again, not without taking my Dougie-tree.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Phyl, so sorry to hear about your dad. He was obviously a huge part of all your lives and will continue to be so. My thoughts are with you.
Caroline Smart