The Florist Angel by Fiona McLennan

The Florist Angel by Fiona McLennan

My mother used the same florist for much of her life – a shop that was initially up the road at Silwood centre, and then moved further and further away from Rondebosch as rents increased, finally ending in Tokai. But she continued to use them to send flowers on special occasions to her friends and family. Every year, once I moved out of home, I received a beautiful bouquet on my birthday, and once I started hosting Christmas I would receive a lovely table centrepiece of flowers in Christmas colours with candles, every year.
 
The florist got to know me too and knew the colour preferences for most of my family. She did the flowers for my father’s funeral and, later, for my mother’s. My mother died on 22 November 2004, so Christmas was going to be terribly difficult. Then, on 24 December, my doorbell rang, and it was Jenny, the florist, with a beautiful table arrangement for me. I was shocked because no one in the world would send me flowers from a florist – except my mother. My heart was pounding and I could not speak. For a wild moment, I wondered if it had all been a terrible nightmare and that my mother was actually still alive somewhere. Jenny handed me the flowers and said, ‘we remembered that your mom always sent you flowers at this time, so this year we have done them for you in her memory’. My children couldn’t understand why I was crying so hard about being given flowers …
 
This beautiful gesture had so much meaning for me – reaping the benefits of my mother’s loyalty and friendship to the florist she had gotten to know so many years ago. She created a connection with almost everyone she met. It was exactly what Robert preached about recently: creating a covenant rather than a contract with someone else. This simple act says to me that those who die are never lost to us – our mutual love continues through friends and family and through gestures such as these. The flowers were also typically my mother – I could imagine her worrying about me not having a decent flower arrangement at Christmas! – but, most powerfully, sending her love to me from beyond the grave.