We have always had a straightforward approach towards death. It is part of the cycle of life. We live, we breathe, we love, we cry, we laugh, some of us may have offspring, and at some point on this earth, we will die. The lesson that we’ve taught them is to always be true and to end each day as though it was your last… leaving nothing unsaid, and make sure that those you love have heard those words before the day is over.
BW and JB were first introduced to the concept of death with our greyhound Molly when she became so old and pained by the arthritis in her back that it was the humane and kind thing to say goodbye and let her go. Similarly, we had the responsibility of letting our dearest Rosie go when kidney failure would have meant only more pain and suffering.
It should have been no surprise to me then, but it was when I shared with the little ones that T had passed. That while she was in a hospital with some of the best doctors in the world, they were not able to help her when it was her time. BW took it matter of factly, and he expresses his sadness in a boyish sort of way. The only questions that he’s asked have been very matter of fact and emotionally distant.
When I told JB though it was different. Before her passing, T had planned on visiting for JB’s birthday – and knowing this, JB had been planning on gathering all of the dandelions in the neighborhood that she could find and presenting them to auntie as a demonstration of her love.
When told that T was gone, JB burst into tears and said whist fully that now she would never be able to give T the bouquet of dandelions that she’d gathered. In an effort to comfort JB we talked about what the dandelions meant and that we would plant a garden for auntie (despite Charles’ grimace – he’d worked for the last several years to eradicate all of the dandelions!).
Since that conversation, I’ve noticed that the blooming of the dandelions tends to come in waves. Never just one or two flower in the grass… It’s more like dozens upon dozens at a time… not unlike the memories that wash over you with a sudden wave of emotion.
For days on end, you will go about your life in a normal fashion as though nothing has changed, and then suddenly a wave of memories all tied together by an intangible web, flow through your mind, one after another until your entire being can’t help but grieve in an exhausting manner.
Grieving for a dream unrealized, the death of a loved one, a past hope unfulfilled, the loss of an opportunity, or a love that has been lost.
I believe that the dandelion is now my favorite of flowers even though it is common – so much so that it is a ‘weed’. It is steadfast and it will never be notable, yet it has a simple beauty that most do not see.