Flowers have long been a way we communicate our feelings. Red roses let someone know of our love, lilies can indicate hope and joy, daisies a sign of friendship. And a big ‘ole unexpected bouquet delivery might just be a way of saying “I’m sorry!”
Like birds, trees and precious stones, we assign flowers to symbolize months of the year. One of the flowers linked to September is the Forget-Me-Not.
When a loved one passes away, friends and family gather to pay tribute and remember our dear one. Meals and cards, visits and thoughts and prayers are often showered on those of us left behind and grieving. Those acts of support are cherished and appreciated by families, but understandably so, diminish over time. The world moves on. Precious memories are with us each day, but we wonder and sometimes fear that our loved one has been forgotten. His/her humor and generosity likes and dislikes, talents and unique personality. Feeling as if our loved one has been forgotten can add to our grief as time passes.
This year marks a decade since the unexpected passing of a dear college friend’s 10-year-old son. Heartbreaking. Truthfully, while the parents are dear old friends, I had not gotten to know their curious, bubbly, outdoors-loving son Charles very well. However, I am reminded of him frequently. You see, during his service, it was shared that Charles loved nature – especially frogs. I can’t help but think of him – and his parents – every time I see a frog. Upon entering the bright, music-filled Celebration of Life service, each of us were handed a small frog. Plastic, of course! A family that frequently dons bow ties, they also worked with an artist friend to design one covered with frogs in Charles’ honor. His parents wanted to make sure there was something about Charles all of us would know and none of us would forget. They made sure we “forgot him not.” I carried that little plastic reminder with me for a long time.
Through the years, spotting a frog in nature, on a screen or in a cute boutique has not only brought Charles to mind but has served as that prompt to reach out with a note, text or to say a prayer for my friends. I’m so thankful they shared that sweet memory and token with each of us.
What simple but unique something would serve to remind folks of you or your loved one? How can it be shared with those grieving and paying respects at a traditional or contemporary service?
|Amy Jo (AJ) Barkley
staff writer for The Arlington Memorial Gardens. AJ joins the writing and research team at The Arlington Memorial Gardens with a rich background in Human Resources for both corporate and non-profit organizations. As the wife of a Presbyterian Church Minister in Cincinnati, AJ spends her time working in the church and helping multiple charities and non-profit organizations. Her desire is that the tidbits of information she discovers and shares are helpful and hopeful!