Why do people use flowers on special occasions? I’m thinking it makes sense for a wedding. Once upon a time, baths were a luxury taken twice a year. To save the species the bride needed to smell good enough so the groom could follow through with post-nuptial rituals.
As for funerals, the use of flowers apparently dates back to Neanderthal times. Flowers masked the smell and antlers were used for decorative effect. Some cultures gave flowers a break after embalming was invented by the Egyptians.
Somewhere along the line, people must have planted flowers on the grave, or perhaps even crops if land was scarce.
In my zombie apocalypse imaginary screenplay, the cinematic critters might arise in darkness, shrouded in mist, and have flowers (or crops) to devour.
If my Handsome Woodsman had his choice of zombie arrival scripts, he would have wanted to see wild mushrooms.
Lovely Katie, of Abundance Flower Design, lent her delicate expertise for the musical memorial last weekend. She assembled bouquets of white alstroemeria, roses, gladiolas, hydrangea and mysterious light green plants.
Then she went above and beyond. A soggy slope exists behind her house. I envision her out there, hair falling over her face and grubby green stains where one would normally find kneecaps. She carved large chunks of moss and placed them over floral foam. She also spotted wild mushrooms and found them a mossy home in vases.
She should start a new niche market — wild mushroom bouquets. If they were edible, as she claims, she could advertise in frou-frou food catalogs like Williams-Sonoma.
We have a friend in our circle who donated a well-loved, yet worn guitar, to which she attached more flowers.
After the service, my dad and I found some of my Handsome Woodsman’s guitar strings, sitting right where Dave had left them, and now the guitar strums just fine. Now I have a guitar in case an itinerant musician, namely Dad, wants to play a song I know.
Dave’s last gig was as perfect as an event like this can be. We had 150 chairs and there was standing room only. Someone brought me a Christmas tree, which I would not have considered buying this year.
Dave was a songwriter and I’ve been fearful that some of the music will be lost from my memory.
I hum the songs in my head, nearly constantly, but must admit I never knew all the words.
During the funeral, Dan Casamajor found me in the crowd. Dan runs the open mic nights at Has Beans, which was an infrequent destination on nights when my guy wanted to strum and I wanted to buy vegetables at Thursday night farmers markets.
Unbeknownst to us, Dan records all of the open mic sessions. The kind maestro had tracked down the recordings from the nights Dave had played. Dan presented me with a CD with some of the songs I had dreaded I would forget.
These kindnesses, and more, reminded me that I am so very much surrounded by people who care, and perhaps more importantly, who loved the same man we have lost.
Now that the visiting relatives have left town and the hoopla of the “party” has come and gone, the new normal has begun.
I have time to think and remember and to talk out loud like a crazy woman. I talk to him in the garden and when I drive alone in my car.
At Trader Joe’s Wednesday I realized that a lot of normal things will just be sad for a while. Dave would have taken two of the chocolate-covered star shortbread cookies served as a free treat. He might have circled back around for a third.
We loved when TJs sold Brussels sprouts on stalks, and we played with them in the aisle as if they were swords. As I shopped, people reached for our favorite Asian vegetables and held each other’s hands in the aisles. I cried quietly while staring absently at Trader Joe’s brand flavored water.
I will find ways to fill the quiet times. For now, I still have his songs in my head.