It was early morning and Edith was enjoying her cup of English tea while sitting on her favorite chair. She sat back holding her teacup with both hands and closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Edith was waiting for something special which would be coming any moment and with it, someone special.
It all began in 1941 when she met the love of her life Bruce. They met at a botanical club and sparks flew the moment they locked eyes across the room at the first meeting. Edith and Bruce spent every moment they could with each other discovering all they could about one another thereafter. One of their favorite things was to take walks through gardens while holding hands and discussing each flower they passed. It was in a secret garden where Bruce finally proposed to Edith after only six months of dating. Edith made sure Bruce knew her favorite flowers were roses so as a surprise Bruce got her a flower leaf rose lotus diamond ring. Every time she looked at her ring, she was reminded how Bruce told her that she was his favorite flower. Every month, Bruce would bring home roses to Edith to celebrate the day they met which was June 15th. The 15th of every month would be a special day for them as Edith would cook up a special meal, usually Bruce’s favorite seafood dish as they would sit down at the table lit only by candles as they discussed their day. They never had children, not because they didn’t want them, but because they couldn’t. Despite that, Bruce and Edith developed a long marriage of respect, loyalty and deep love for one another well into their 70’s.
One day, Bruce came home saying he did not feel well. Edith prepared the couch to help Bruce lay down so he could rest as she went to get him medicine. The days passed and Bruce continued to get worse. Edith knew deep down Bruce was never going to get better and started to prepare for the worst. Bruce one day day called Edith to come over to where he was laying on the bed.
“Darling? Come here close to me,” he said as he reached out his hand to her.
“I’m here sweety. Are you ok? Do you need anything?” Edith softly asked as she held his hand with both hands.
“I want to tell you something. When I’m gone, I don’t want you to feel lonely because I know you will. We’ve been bestfriends for all these years, we’ve always been together. There never was a day we were not together.”
“Listen darling. I don’t want you to be sad and shut yourself from the world when I’m gone. I want you to go out and enjoy life and walk through our favorite garden. I want you to make new friends, try to make a difference to others like you’ve done to me. Darling. You’ve changed my life life no one else ever has. I don’t know how I could survived the things we went through if you weren’t by my side.”
Tears were streaming down Edith’s eyes and dropping on the bed sheets. She felt like a piece of her soul was being ripped away from her that she knew would never come back.
“Sweety, I can’t. I don’t know if I can do it. I’m going to miss you so much.” Edith briefly let go of his hand and pushed a tuff of hair to the side and gently ran her fingers down his face. Their hands reunited once again.
“Darling. I’m always going to be with you. I promise. I promise….” Bruce was breathing heavily, but made the most of each breath with what he felt was important to say. He looked at the beautiful woman he married and admired her loving eyes that he was always mesmerized by.
A week later Bruce passed away with Edith by his side. She stayed by his bedside until he took his last breath while her cheek touched his face and while they held hands. Edith told stories of all their best memories and how much she loved him as he peacefully laid in bed. The following week was busy with funeral preparations and welcoming friends and family from out of town. A month later Edith found herself sitting alone on the sofa listening to the quietness of the room. Life was so different now. The doorbell rang.
Edith got up and walked to the door, she was not expecting anyone. It was mid morning and she never had visitors this early.
“Mrs. Carthy?” a young woman stood there holding a vase of pink roses.
“Yes, that is me.” Edith answered curiously looking at the flowers.
“These are for you. They’re beautiful aren’t they? They smell amazing too! How are you doing today?” the young woman asked cheerfully. There was a brief pause as the young woman held her smile and waited for the old woman to answer.
“I’m ok dear. Thank you so much. They are beautiful, I wonder who they are from?”
“The card is…right here.” the young woman pulled a white card and handed it to Edith. Edith asked the young woman to come in and set them on her kitchen table. Opening the white card, Edith began to read.
My darling. I wanted to make sure you would always get roses on the 15th of every month. I know you love flowers and I wanted to make sure you would continue to get them even after I’m gone. I love you. Always and forever. –Bruce
Edith closed her mouth with her right hand and let out a soft gasp. A smile crossed Edith’s face and her eyes lit up as she looked at the young woman. Thus began a start of a beautiful friendship. The young woman would come after work hours and spend time with Edith. The young woman was in a unsteady relationship and relied on Edith for advice. Edith became a grandmother of sorts to the young woman. Months passed and the flowers continued to come, each time with a new person who Edith began to make friends with. With each person, Edith realized she was making a difference in each of their lives, not just by showing her understanding side, but because it would start off with the flower delivery people asking Edith how her day was going. Edith began to ask the delivery people who they were doing because she realized everybody has a story and just wants to be heard. Edith met a young man who was struggling with college and was delivering flowers to make ends meet, she met a single mom and a man who suffered tremendous self esteem issues. Each delivery person Edith felt like she wanted to help, she found a reason to get up each morning as she did her chores, had tea with her friends and looked forward to each month for her flowers.
Bruce left one more surprise to Edith. Two weeks after Bruce’s funeral, Edith took a long walk to their favorite garden, just like Bruce had requested her to. As Edith turned the corner of a path, there sat a beatiful bench she had never seen before. This bench was surrounded by every flower you could imagine. Edith approached the bench to see what was written on it.
This bench is dedicated to my beautiful wife, Edith Carthy, who loves coming to this garden. I will be with her in spirit as she sits here. I love you, my beautiful rose. -Bruce
Edith let out a laugh and looked up to the sky. She closed her eyes and felt the warm sun on her skin and the smell of the flowers surrounding her. I feel you Bruce. I feel you right now with me. Thank you. I love you too. Now I know what you meant when you said you would always be with me, Edith thought.
Edith went on to live 10 more years. Upon Edith’s funeral, all the people who delivered flowers to Edith who later became close friends to her came to her funeral. The lives she changed was evident as each former flower delivery person delivered their last single rose on her casket.
Blogger’s Note: Story inspired by my mom who worked at a flower shop part time arranging flowers, my grandfather who had a wrought iron bench at his house in the garden and a couple who I personally know who have a deep love for each other called Ruth and Bill in their mid 60’s.