Today's Flowers: Call it Love
In Litchfield Friday afternoon, I came across a rosebush that bore this blossom and three others bobbing in the cold wind on a hilltop. This time of year, roses outside remind me of my grandmother, who died on October 29 twenty-eight years ago--17 years to the day my daughter was born. On the day we said good-bye to her, a red rose bloomed outside her door. I remember my dad cutting the flower and placing it across her urn. And I remember standing there and wondering how so much beauty, love, and vitality could be gone from the earth. That was a painful time.
Before she passed, I wrote her a letter telling her how much I loved her. I had begun the letter as an essay. I was a sophomore in high school and had the incredible good fortune of an English teacher who cared about writing and cared about turning students into writers. "If you can write, you can do anything," Mr. Charles Phelps told us. And he did. He was the first English teacher who ever taught me anything, and he was a stern and tireless taskmaster--one who brought me to a place where I could say what I felt to my grandmother. I turned that essay into a letter. My Gram told me it was the nicest letter she ever received. In that moment I felt how good it was to love and be loved, and I felt the agony of letting go of that love. It is hard to learn to live it in different ways.
I saw this rose on Friday and thought of my grandmother, Mr. Phelps, and the power of prose.