On the day I was born, my father brought a rose to lay across the foot of my bassinet. My mother often told the story of how he stood watching me sleep; one moment stroking the side of my face, one moment the soft pink petals of the rose. He told her that, just as the rose would open day by day until it was in full bloom, so would I, his precious little girl, blossom and grow.
He was a romantic, my father. He never waited for special occasions but was a familiar face at the local florist. I sometimes felt like the folks at the shop knew my life better than my closest friends did.
Pretty much any excuse was a good one for my father to stop in for a rose, or two or a dozen, on his way home from work.
When I got married, of course it was my father who went to the florist and picked out the roses for the bride. It was the florist who saw him turn his head to the side and wipe a tear. “My little girl’s all grown up”, she heard him whisper.
A year ago today, over a hundred of us stood in the cemetery, saying good bye to this romantic, gentle man, each holding a rose in our hand, taking turns laying their beauty on his casket in the cold earth.
As I stood there, tears blurring my vision, my fingers gently stroked the petal of the rose just as, so many years before, Dad had stood by my bassinet.
Roses – from first to last – have marked the moments of my life.