across many miles, and many seas

When my Mom passed away, my blogging friend Priya, of Partial View, sent me an email with this beautiful photo of a gardenia “taken in her garden a few weeks earlier, just after the rains stopped.”

I love all flowers, but I adore the scent of gardenias. How did Priya know?

Gardenia (Photo credit: Priya, of Partial View)

I missed my Mom today.

We used to speak every day, but I haven’t spoken to her for a month. I’d love to  pick up the phone just to ask her, “How are you?”

How are you Moether?

Sad, lonely, my eyes dripped several times.

Late this afternoon when a young woman gave me her credit card, and I saw her name was Priya, I shrieked. The poor thing thought she’d done something wrong.  I tried to explain that it’s the first time I’ve seen the name Priya – which she told me means “beloved”  – on a credit card, but she didn’t understand why her name would make me so happy.

* * *

When I emailed Priya to thank her for her beautiful photo, I suggested that whenever she smelled the gardenias in her garden in India, she should send me a mental picture of the scent.

I got it this time, and I didn’t feel so lonely.

*  * *

Still in a way-nobody sees a flower-really-
it is so small- we haven’t time-
and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time

– Georgia O’Keeffe

About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
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24 Responses to across many miles, and many seas

  1. E fullstop says:

    O’Keeffe left out one last line: “and to heal takes time.”

    J and I are right in that boat with you. J told me that he wishes his dad was just on a long trip from which he’ll return. And in a way he is.

    • dearrosie says:

      You’re so right about the last line e fullstop. Some days I feel OK and almost function like normal and then other days, I think oh god I forgot to phone Mom, and rushing over to the phone I stand there with the receiver in my hand listening to the dial tone and remember I don’t know her new number.

      Call me simple but I always look to credit card names and the monetary amounts for messages.

  2. Priya says:

    My dear Rosie,

    I am happy the gardenia stays with you. It stays with me, too, ever since you thoughtfully directed it back to me when I needed it.

    Speaking of need, after I sent you this picture, I remembered that all of us, at different times or same, need a gentle reminder of goodness and love, and with this thought, I sent the Gardenia to many other friends, too. It is wondrous to know just how many appreciated its arrival — for very different reasons.

    Your sentence “I don’t know her new number.” is something I can completely understand. I used to do that often for Shonu, in fact I still do it occasionally. The healing takes a long time, but the actual acceptance is the most elusive.

    Have a day full of peaceful and happy memories, Rosie. And smell the fragrance of a flower you so cherish.

    Much love.

    • dearrosie says:

      I’m glad I could bring happiness to your heart by re-gifting the Gardenia back at you dear Priya. There is so much goodness and love in the photo that I’m happy to hear you’re sharing it with many others.
      Mr F and I were in a beautiful garden in one of the L.A. hills this afternoon, and we saw a Gardenia bush. I smelled the flowers even though there were only three tiny blooms with not much scent.

      I guess part of the healing is discovering we don’t need to know their phone numbers, because they are with us.

  3. Mahalia says:

    You are right, E., to heal also takes time. And, mom, i think it perfectly acceptable to ask for messages, and find them.

    Today Canadians (and lefty Americans tuned in to such things) are mourning the too-soon death of the Federal leader of the NDP, Jack Layton. Bicycle bells are ringing for him, downtown is thronging in orange, there are impromptu memorials all over the city, and many people have been inspired to action. Death can be like that, even for someone whose mark in the world was less public. Through the grief, something new can emerge. through letting go of someone, you find there is space for something else to grow.

    Here is a tribute my friend Alex put together for Jack. The song lyrics are perfect. It is on Youtube, but i can’t find it! Hopefully this link works:

    • dearrosie says:

      Do you also ask for, and get messages?

      It’s such a tragedy that Jack Layton died far too young because Canada really needs someone like him. It’s heartwarming to hear that people are ringing their bicycle bells wearing orange in his honour.
      Thanks for the link to the video. I was able to click on it and see your friend Alex’s beautiful tribute.

      I LOVE your sentence:

      “Through the grief, something new can emerge. Through letting go of someone, you find there is space for something else to grow.”

  4. magsx2 says:

    Gardenia’s are one of the most beautiful smelling flowers around, and they also look gorgeous in the garden.
    My Mum passed away many years ago, and I still miss her, on certain days I too have tears, but beautiful memories will always stay with you.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Mags,
      I’m glad to hear that Gardenias grow in Oz. I don’t think they grow in Canada. I think its too cold. Can anyone tell us whether you can plant them outside in British Columbia?

      So true that although your Mom died many years ago and you still miss her enough to bring tears, you’ll always have the beautiful memories.

  5. Sybil says:

    Another canuck. Another leftie mourning Jack (Layton).

    Jack wrote a letter to Canadians 2 days before he died. This is the last paragraph:

    ‎”My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. — Jack Layton”

  6. souldipper says:

    Rosie, this Canadian would love to sit down and share a piece of my freshly baked banana bread with you.

    It has a generous supply of dark chocolate chips, walnut pieces and well-ripened bananas that moisten the loaf into a little piece of heaven.

    We could swap some “mom” stories and honour them by living and laughing with joy. We could look at Jack Layton’s fabulous paragraph and stick our noses high in the air saying, “Yah? Well that’s exactly what our moms taught us. We’ve been doing that for years! Most of the time…!” 😀

    • dearrosie says:

      Gosh Amy I’d love to come sit on your stoep and share stories while munching on pieces of your banana bread with you. The few photos and stories you’ve shared of your beautiful island home make it sound exactly like the place I’d like to be at now – quiet, peaceful and a place where I’ll find my own peace. I’ll bring my favourite Assam tea from Sainsbury’s.

  7. What a lovely post, sweet Rosie! The gardenia was my own mom’s favorite flower, and we have rows of the bushes out in my backyard — but i’ve never captured the pure white beauty of it like Priya! what a gift! I lost my mom in 1986, when I was just 33, and it shattered my world. By the time my dad passed away, it was 18 years later and I was more accustomed/ready to let go of a beloved parent – but it still is so hard and you miss them so much! One of the saddest things for me was that my dad’s entire face used to light up whenever I’d walk in — and after he died I realized that nobody would ever be that happy to see me again. It’s the parental love you miss so much, in addition to loving them so much yourself! Anyhow… I loved your post, the comments it elicited, and the way you obviously touched so many of us!
    (And that quote from O’Keefe is gorgeous. I love every word of her book – her paintings are so rich & evocative, it’s almost not fair that she has the absolute gift of a poet when she writes!) xoxoxo b

    • dearrosie says:

      Betty when I switched on the computer this morning and saw this heartfelt comment from you it touched me more than you’d realize. Thank you dear friend.

      I wept when I read your sentence:
      “my dad’s entire face used to light up whenever I’d walk in — and after he died I realized that nobody would ever be that happy to see me again.”

      I know exactly what you mean. I believe that the parental light and love you’re talking about was captured in the photo of me and my Mom that I used in the post when she passed away:

      I can only imagine the delightful sensory experience, for both eye and nose, when a garden’s planted with ROWS of gardenia bushes. Whenever you’re in the mood, stop and savor the scent, and send the fragrance onto me, and lets see whether a Betty visits me at my cash register 🙂

  8. Dear Rosie,

    I know EXACTLY how you feel!!! I used to talk to my mother all the time, too, because we also lived apart most of my adult life but always remained very close emotionally. It was my habit to call her whenever anything interesting happened in my life—especially if I went to a party because she loved parties. I would sometimes reach for the phone after she died only to realize that she wouldn’t be there. This made me so sad—but it also gave me the opportunity to mourn her marvelous love of life. At some point (I can’t remember how long this took), I realized that I didn’t need to call her any more because she KNEW!! She was with me, and inside of me, too, in a very real way. I still feel that way and know I always will. Writing helps!!

    I read a great quote from C. S. Lewis the other day: “We do not have souls. We ARE souls. We have a body.” May this thought comfort you, as it did me.


    • dearrosie says:

      Thank you Dinah. Although I cried when I read your comment, it also comforted me to know I’m not alone in my longing to phone her. After speaking to my Mom every day for so many years I don’t know what to do with all the stuff I want to share with her, and I’m holding the words in my mouth, like marbles. Thanks for reminding that I don’t need to store the words in my mouth, I can put them down on the page.

      It was because my Mom enjoyed hearing my cash register stories that I started this blog. It was hard for her to understand what a blog was, and she didn’t “get” it. I had to quote my friend Annette, who upon hearing I was writing a blog, said a blog’s like writing a newspaper editorial, that anyone in the world can read, for free. My Mother understood that, thought I was very smart to reach so many people, and was very impressed to learn I’ve got all these new “pen pal” friends, though she didn’t quite get the “free” part.

      My mother had many wonderful expressions, one of which was, “Time is the great healer”. I forgot to remember it.

      As for the C.S. Lewis quote, it’s perfect. I was introduced to my soul only recently.

  9. Val says:

    Beautiful post and I understand how you feel. It’s over twenty years since my mum passed and I still have moments in which I wonder where she is.

    The day that she died, my dad woke me to tell me she’d passed (she was in hospital at the time and none of us were with her which I have regretted ever since, though I was with my dad when he passed), but when I woke that morning – before dad came to tell me about her passing – I had the scent of her favourite rose and a particular song in my mind. I knew she’d gone before he told me.

    My dreams fill in for the reality of having her here. Dreams and photos and the occasional scent of a rose.

    Hugs Rosie. It gets easier over time, but never quite goes away.

    • dearrosie says:

      Thanks for the hugs and words of comfort Val. It helps…

      What a beautiful memory of your Mom’s passing. I love that when you woke up that morning you knew she’d passed away because you could smell her favorite rose, and hear her song.

      My house is full of photos of my Mom. And my Dad.

      It sounds as if you dream of her. Did she ever send you songs in your dreams?

  10. jane tims says:

    Hi Rosie. I am sorry because it’s a hurt that really can’t be fixed. My Mom died 8 years ago and after something interesting happens, I still think, I should call Mom, and then I realise I can’t. So I just keep doing the things I know she would want me to do. Jane

  11. bronxboy55 says:

    “Across many miles, and many seas.” Unfortunately, many of us are separated from each other by great distances, by time differences, and hardest of all, by death. But those things lose their effect when we care about someone. Our thoughts and memories can never be taken away, especially if they’re rooted in love. I hope you will always have the sweet scent of gardenias in your life, and the friendship of people like Priya.

    • dearrosie says:

      Yes Yes Yes BronxBoy. Though we sometimes are separated from our loved ones by great distances and eventually by death (we all have to go one day) it is comforting to know that “our memories will always be with us”, and with supportive friends like Priya, and all of you who’ve commented here, plus *time* I hope it’ll be easier to accept the silent telephone.

  12. Barbara Rodgers says:

    Like Betty, I lost my mom twenty years ago, when I was 34, and my world was shattered, too. It took forever to stop the habit of reaching for the phone whenever one of my kids did something I knew she’d be proud of or amused by… Sometimes I even catch myself wanting to buy her a perfect gift I’ve found.

    I think your mom is already helping you by way of calling her wisdom to your mind, ““Time is the great healer.” It does get easier with time but give yourself a lot of time, grieving cannot be rushed! It may seem like forever, but sometimes you’ll find yourself smiling over a sweet memory, even though tears still find their way to the surface at moments when you least expect it. (((hugs)))

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Barbara,
      I appreciate you taking the time to leave such a kind comment. Thanks too for the (((hugs))). I am comforted to know I just need time to grieve.

      You and Betty were both so young when your mothers passed away. I am fortunate that my mom accompanied me into my middle years.

      The habit of the telephone is hard to break. I ran up the stairs after work this evening thinking I’d phone my mom… but the good news is I haven’t thought of phoning her for a few days.

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