Today is the day. It’s two years since you died.
Time has gone so fast. It doesn’t feel like you’ve been gone this long. The pain is still there. I miss you.
I want to connect with you. I know we have a bond and memories but I needed something else.
I looked for freesias, your favourite flower. The ones I saw in the shops looked wilted and not good enough. It seemed it wasn’t meant to be.
I felt distress that I couldn’t get that right for you. Silly, I know, as you would have told me it doesn’t matter. But it does.
Then I remembered sunflowers.
The last flowers I bought you were a bouquet of sunflowers. It felt like a strange choice initially. Such cheerful vibrant flowers for a dying woman. Then I knew they were perfect.
In the sterile, clinical hospice environment, those little rays of sunshine were welcome. You remarked on how they lit up the room.
Every day I saw you, after checking on you, I’d look to the sunflowers.
They became more than a gift and an ornament. They signified life; the present and the end.
It became my mission to keep those blooms alive. I would constantly water and nurture them.
I know now it was because I felt so useless. Nothing I could do would keep you alive. Your sunflowers were the closest I had to hope.
As the days passed you declined.
The sunflowers sympathised and joined you. They began to wilt.
You became less conscious.
I tried to revive the flowers. Water couldn’t do the job.
I tried to bring back my chatty, opinionated mum. I couldn’t do the job.
The flowers declined.
One of my most sorrowful memories is emptying your room of your possessions.
I would not let anyone touch the sunflowers.
Just as I held your hand until your last breath, I would be with the sunflowers at their end.
I emptied the vase of water. I looked at you lying there so peaceful. You were empty of life now too.
I laid the dying sunflowers on the garden. They would not be buried or destroyed.
Your sunflowers lay on the earth; the fertile ground that once gave them life.
I sit here now and look at the sunflowers I bought. My heart hurts.
I wonder how it will feel to watch them die. Am I prepared? I don’t know.
You are the sunflower that never dies, Mum.
Your vibrancy will not wither.
You are the bright memories that keep on shining.
With love always,