Scent of Rose
My mother had thirty-six major surgeries before
we lost her to an intestinal blockage. She spent
many days bound to the bed, propped up by
feather pillows. On one such day, I busied
myself fluffing them for her. I guess it was my
way of trying to make her more comfortable,
But in all honesty, I just wanted to be near her
as much as possible.
It was a beautiful spring day. I decided to take
a walk to our neighbor's house while Mom rested.
I called it my retreat from the cares of the
world. Rose was kind and gentle with me. Her
patience was without end. When she smiled, it
warmed my heart. We talked for hours. I enjoyed
browsing through her magnificent flower garden,
but had a even stronger desire for a little
comforting, (or mothering conversation.) Rose
was a great listener, and always knew just when
to talk and when to keep silent.
Rose's home sat back off the road, her driveway
meandered along the dirt road with shade trees
towering across the road and meeting in the
center from each side. In the distance, I saw
her flowers in bloom. All spring and summer
various varieties, sizes, and shapes grew. They
perfumed the outside and inside of Rose’s home.
This particular day, a sweet scent of gardenia
and jasmine permeated the front yard as I
entered in. (I still smell those sweet
fragrances each time I think of her.)
The house was small and simple. It had a
wrap-around porch called a veranda. It beckoned
me to ‘come sit a spell,’ which is exactly what
I did as I sipped on refreshing lemonade with a
sprig of fresh mint and ate homemade cookies
Rose kept handy for such visits.
In the ceiling of the porch was a fan for those
hot, sultry southern days. It gently turned,
making swishing sounds, each time the blades
came full circle. The sounds seemed to relax me.
And so it was, we shared the simple things in
life. I listened attentively to stories of her
childhood. I shared my ever-present concerns for
my mother and her health.
We strolled through her garden at ease. Rose
named each variety and color of flower in bloom.
Often, she carried a basket across her arm,
occasionally bending down to snip a few as we
walked and talked.
As we strolled we approached a bench. Rose
stopped and sat down. I jokingly called it her
‘wisdom bench’ because it was there that Rose
often shared her thoughts about life in general.
Rose looked at me, and I saw tears pool in her
vibrant blue eyes. She gathered my tiny body
close to her side and held me for a short
moment. Looking back, I now know she must have
truly sensed my pain and fear of losing my mom.
I openly shared my thoughts and asked questions
about life and death. She explained that for a
Christian, death was nothing to fear. She went
on to explain why. I left feeling as if
something special had been instilled in me. I
felt comforted and at peace.
We made our way back to her house, singing as we
walked. Before I left she asked me to wait while
she went inside. When she returned, she had a
beautiful bouquet she had placed in a large
glass vase with a rainbow colored bow tied
around it. She handed it to me and said to give
them to my mother. Along with the bouquet, she
sent a note reading, "Thank you for sharing your
daughter. I hope to share my garden with you
Rose and her house have long since left this
world. But her gentleness, wisdom, and love
abide forever in my heart. As for the
flowers.... They still came up every spring
where her house once stood.
I moved from my southern home, married, and now
have adult children and grandchildren of my own.
I hope that I can share my love of flowers, and
the bits of wisdom instilled in me. But most of
all, I hope they will learn love and compassion,
as I did from Rose. I want their world to be a
better place because some of Rose still resides
in my heart.
© 2003 Marie Williams
ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil
is used with Marie's
permission. Please respect the
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