Today's Flowers: Call it Love

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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.

Today's Flowers

Comments

  1. Perfect flower, perfect post ... a lovely tribute ..

    Litchfield is a fav stop of mine when visiting my friends home in Warren .. have you been to White Flower Farm? That exquisite bloom brought them to mind.

    Happy Sunday!

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  2. Yes, a beautiful flower to go with a beautiful post. That letter probably meant the world to your grandmother.

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  3. Beautiful recollection, sandy. What good fortune to have had someone to open that door for you. And I imagine that as an adult you've held the door for some younger ones, as well.

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  4. Oh what a poignant,touching post Sandy. I felt your pain through your words but also the beauty of this wonderful tribute. Lovely.

    Many hugs, G

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  5. This reminds me of an essay my oldest son wrote about my dad when he was in high school. My mother has a framed copy of it on the end table in the den. My son doesn't have your gift of prose, but I think that when you're writing about something you truly care about it doesn't matter what words you use. Just that you use them.

    And as always, a marvelous photograph.

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  6. This is a very beautiful post. You were fortunate to have such an English teacher who enabled you to tell your grandmother how much you loved her is such a special way.

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  7. Beautiful flower. And a lovely tribute to your grandmother!

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  8. A very touching story Sandy and I can almost feel the love you're talking about to your Gram as I do to my mom, who also passed away 8 years ago and this time I've been missing her so much, so my TF entry is over at my flower blog, which I started as a dedication to her and have been dormant for months now. Please visit me there by just clicking on my name, you'll be directed to that garden.

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  9. amen sandy so muc pure fall into white today- I'm loving it all

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  10. lovely post:)..great tribute:)...

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  11. Such beautiful and painful sentiments.

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  12. Anonymous1:18 PM

    that is a beautiful flower!!

    great sentiments and tribute..

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  13. beautiful tribute to love, family and writing...also to great teaching. you are teaching through your example...

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  14. Perfect photo and emotive post, Sandy!

    Good week, dear!

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  15. So many gifts in a single blossom at such a time; thank you for sharing it! Moments like this keep me believing in a wisdom and love infinitely beyond what we can ever understand.

    Happy birthday, btw, to Herself!
    ;-)

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  16. Well written. So many memories have anniversaries. It's wonderful how you express them in words and in photos.

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  17. A lovely expression of your love for your grandmother.The white rose spoke out to the memories deep within your heart.

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  18. heart-achingly beautiful....

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  19. Friendship is the most beautiful relationship on earth. Share this wonderful relationship with the most beautiful object on earth the flowers. Flower is the symbol of joy, love, happiness, and passion. Every flower has its own image and importance and its own emotion symbol.

    Hello there, nice to be here..I will be glad to hear from you soon.

    http://www.ellenheartbeats.com
    http://www.ellentinytreasures.com
    http://www.ellenreachingout.com
    http://mariellewhatmattersmost.blogspot.com

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  20. Lovely tribute for your grandmother..

    You might know the names of some flowers that I have posted, coz I don't know them. Hope to see you!

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  21. When I first looked at this rose I thought of innocence. After reading your narrative it made me think of peace. I am sure your Grandmother is at peace. Peace be with you.

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  22. one of the most moving and lovely posts you have written my dear friend and a lovely photo as well! thank you for sharing such a personal memory with us!

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  23. Snow white. That teacher was a gem and I think I agree with him.

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  24. Doubly blest, by your inspiring grandmother, and teacher who truly gave you something valuable. They are gone, so all we can do is pass it forward!

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  25. lovely flower and tribute

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  26. Exquisite bloom. Beautiful tribute!
    Have a great week Sandy.

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  27. What a wonderful memory of your Gram, you--the writer and your special teacher! I bet kids today think you are just like him. What a blessing!

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  28. I was new in college when I lost my gram, I still remember the pain of letting go. This post is such a beautiful tribute to her.

    You were lucky to encounter Mr Phelps, just as your students are lucky to have you, Sandy!

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  29. What a beautiful post Sandy! The 29th October was my weddingday.We would have been married for 46 years now, had my husband still be alive. He died in November 1999 now ten years ago.
    Thanks for your visit.

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  30. Awesome story. Many people never send a letter like that. You were so fortunate and so was your Grandmother.

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  31. Sandy: What a wonderful way to remember your grandmother.

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  32. You always write so beautifully. Thank-you.

    Book Review #5 - Merle's Door

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  33. How beautiful is the sentiment you have for this immaculate flower to which you hold a cherished memory of the people close to your heart.

    Your Grandma and my mother died the same year, another painful twin memory with yours.

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  34. your shot is very very impressive! love it!

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  35. just fonder on good memories =)

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  36. Hello Sandy

    pretty macro shot, dearest
    Havea nice weekhttp://graceolsson.se/mittliv/2009/10/30/life-with-passion-at-flowers-from-today/

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  37. A lovely tribute to your Grandmother and nod of gratitude to your teacher. I'm so glad he encouraged you. Beautiful post, Sandy.

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  38. Great sentiment in this fine post, Sandy.

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  39. Lovely story. Grandparents are just the very best thing to ever happen to a kid. I miss mine every day.

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  40. one oerson can make a difference

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  41. A beautiful rose and a loving to your grandma. Its amazing how one teacher can make an influence to one's life and love.

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  42. Powerful & perfect!

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  43. This is a lovely way to remember your grandmother Sandy.

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  44. Sandy, what a tender story and a fine tribute to your grandmother! My own nana died 10 years ago on October 23rd. She was a first grade teacher and the one who taught me to read. How can I ever thank her for that? I'm glad you saw the rose. Thanks for the story.

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  45. I read this post earlier this week. Congratulations! Delighted to see you've won Post of the Week!

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  46. What a lovely post!

    Congrats on POTW!

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  47. Wonderful post and very moving tribute. Glad Hilary sent me. Congrats on your POTW.

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  48. Marvelous memory and message ;-)
    Thanks for sharing this poignant post!
    Hugs and blessings,

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  49. I had a Mr. Phelps too. I mean literally, that was his name. I guess I also mean it metaphorically because in a way he was my version of your Mr. Phelps. He was a middle-school science teacher that I remember very fondly.

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  50. Anonymous5:10 PM

    Beautiful post, flower, and I'm sure a beautiful letter that your grandmother would have cherished. What a wonderful idea...Pass it on.

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  51. Beautiful. I lost my grandmother at about the same age. How I wish I had written a letter like that!
    A very wise and moving piece. Thank you.

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  52. Hello, I'm here via The Smitten Image. This is a wonderful and moving post. I wish more people would write hand written letters. There is nothing more precious than to hear how someone feels about you in a heart felt letter.

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  53. Great love breaks open the possibility of great pain.
    A nice story and told so well. Thanks for sharing.
    Congratulations on post of the week – well deserved.
    You made the water works come on only for a bit - of course I can't admit to anymore than a bit.

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  54. Delicate flower, soft picture, fine words, caressing thoughts conveyed through superb sentiments!
    Came via POTW. Congralations !

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  55. really beautiful piece to go with a beautiful rose. great post well deserved POTW!

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  56. Beautiful tribute, lovely post. Came here from Hilary's; congratulations on the POTW win.;)
    xoxo

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  57. Congrats on POTW! (Sorry I'm a little slow in getting around to reading them all).

    That was a wonderful tribute. I wish I had an English teacher like that. I did have a psychology teacher like that who encouraged my writing through journals, but they were much more informal, stream-of-consciousness style writings than anything that any of my English teachers ever had us write.

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  58. Anonymous9:38 PM

    A beautiful and serene bloom....it truly represents the goodness of love and be loved. Couldn't agree more on the power of prose.

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