Thursday, May 27, 2010

Life Petals

Not long ago I was reading one of the installments of a blog of a dear friend of mine.  Her name is Lisa Brandel and her blog is titled The Widow Lady, in which she chronicles the story of a loved one battling and ultimately dying of a grim disease.  Although sad, her story is also gripping, realistic, honest, at times funny, bittersweet and always profound.

Lisa's blog has often prompted memories of my own of family members who have fought long, debilitating illnesses with dignity and inner strength. I was writing a comment on one of her posts and said something along the lines of,

"This has always made me think of watching petals slowly falling from a flower."
That phrase stuck in my mind and kept surfacing in different ways, to the point that I knew eventually I would write more fully about this concept.

Those of us who are romantic, or have children, are familiar with the story of "Beauty and the Beast".  Depending on which version of the story you have read or viewed in movie format, the Soul of the Beast is represented by a flower, or a blooming bush, or blooming tree.  As Beauty fails to see past the outer visage of the Beast, with each disappointment sustained, another petal from the flower falls.

The more I turned these seemingly unrelated points over and over in my mind, the more interconnecting points began to fall into place.  Who among us, in the first flush of love, or secure in a lasting relationship hasn't felt replenished, our spirits renewed and uplifted by the attention of that other person?  I have always held a mental image that relationships are exactly like that Magical Flower, but my image is one of the flower constantly being renewed.  Certainly, disappointments, illnesses, arguments and other difficult experiences strip the petals away or crush the delicate surfaces, leaving unsightly bruising.  Yet, with time, patience, understanding and love, the fallen petals are replaced, the bruised petals are healed and the flower stands proudly, lush and vital.

Could it be that we each have different flowers for each relationship, different flowers for various levels of physical health? One specific type of flower for friendships, another for family, yet another for work relationships, still more flowers that reflect our state of bodily health, and finally, that one special flower for the most deeply personal connection with that loved one. There is certainly a Language of Flowers that has existed for almost 200 years, giving each flower a specific message, sometimes going to exquisitely minute detail with one flower having different meaning read by the color of the petals.  An example would be a yellow rose meaning friendship, while we all recognize the red rose denotes love. 

In my mind's eye, all of the flowers in our personal garden form a central path.  This central path leads to a unique flower that is unlike any other in existence, and would never be found here on Earth.  This flower would represent us.  No one else, just us.  All the other flowers in our personal garden channel energy into our personal Life Flower, keeping it healthy. 

With age, it is inevitable that people come and go.  Some leave this earthly plane early, at least to our human minds.  Our personal gardens are as those in nature - in a constant state of flux, with changes and shifts, birth, growth and death occurring.  The march of time causes our personal Life Flower to slowly...oh, so slowly, shed petals.  Sometimes those petals renew, and the Life Flower continues to flourish.

In the instances of terminal illness, I imagine that individual's personal garden experiences quite dramatic change.  I also can vividly picture their personal Life Flower becoming an equally profound depiction of their battle against that illness.  I would think the Life Flower would reflect all the physical struggles, all the emotions and fears that go unspoken.  Rather than this Life Flower becoming marked, or bruised or scarred, I can only visualize that it becomes more brilliantly beautiful, shining with an otherwordly purity, carrying a similar mien to that of a soldier in the midst of grim battle. 

Eventually, an end must come for all of us.  Our personal Life Flower will shed petals over time, slowly for some of us, abruptly and brutally for others.  In my own personal analogy, I believe that those fallen petals do not perish into proverbial dust.  I envision them drifting on that cosmic wind, guided by Love, to find their way to the Life Flowers of their loved ones.  Isn't that a wonderful thing to imagine?  That, just possibly, those fallen petals seek us out, those of us left to carry on and find a way to go forward alone, they drift until they find us, and they attach to our personal garden. 

This, many might say, is a fairytale of epic proportions.  I have no foundation for this concept other than my own, admittedly, fertile imagination.  The image of that single flower suspended in space, slowly releasing, one by one....Life Petals, is one that has popped into my mind's eye each time I have dealt with lingering, terminal illness.  Whether it makes sense to anyone else matters not to me; what does matter to me is that the thought brings me comfort.  Imagining that some small fragment of the true essence of someone I have loved never really leaves me makes me smile, and gives me a solid sense of inner peace. 

Perhaps one day I shall sit down and write out this different sort of fairytale, for I am curious to learn more of it.  This is one of those facets of being a writer that I cherish, because I am equally curious to learn the end of the story as my readers may be.  Questions certainly remain - where do all the petals shed over a lifetime go?  Do they swirl away on the wind, except for those precious few that seek out those that are left to continue living?  Do they form a carpeted path for us when our time comes, leading us in the right direction to reunite with those who have gone before us?  The story is unfinished at this time. 

I am left with how to close this blog.  It was prompted, in part, by the blog of a dear friend, bringing to the forefront of my mind an image and concept that has been softly chiming in the background, patiently waiting to be given voice.  How will this post be received?  I honestly have no idea, but again, I will choose to be brave, publish it and wait to see what responses come.  In the meantime, I will visit my own personal garden and gaze about me at the blessings, strewn in riotous color, then I shall gaze towards the center of my garden and recognize that my own Life Flower casts a bright glow.  For now, this is a fitting close.


  1. Our lives are like fingerprints you know.they are unique.each one has it own unique situation to deal with.just like each flower petal will fall in a unique way...each dependent on external influences to chart it s course of destiny.some will face harsh winds some gentle breeze some maybe prickling sunlight and some cool clouds...just like our lives which I believe , beyond a point, are not in our control..beyond a point one has to learn to let go...just flow..

  2. oh dawnie! this was sooo beutiful! That unique flower that represents us! I agree with you that those that have an illness, terminal or other, i have a dear friend on f.b. from atlanta that i have known for 25 years. She has Parkinson's. She and I led the support group for abused back in the 80's. i was waiting at her house the day of our meeting for her to get home from the dr. that she was diagnosed. since that point, i for myself have never witnessed a more positive woman full of faith.
    I also believe those petals do not perish into proverbial dust! how many times has my deceased mother-in-law would appear to me in the night during my sleep/not really a dream, but i would see her in the little scarf she would wear telling me that "everything is going to be alright sweetie." Thanks for such a beautiful blog! love, janie

  3. Dawn, it's a beautiful picture. I've always thought of it more as energy & this energy never goes away just because we leave this earthly body. We are all connected to this energy of the universe & that's how we can feel those that have passed before us.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.



  4. Lost for words! My heart missed a beat. Took me back to my very dear friend's passing away. Re united after many years and was with my friend till the very end.. Felt like the circle was complete. We met when we were much younger and then each of us followed our own paths and met again towards the end. Spent a beautiful week together.
    That flower was and is very special....

  5. Hello everyone, I am home briefly between meetings and see that I have several wonderful comments to respond to!

    Gyanban, thank you for your thoughts. We all envision this type of moment in different ways, and we all have our unique thoughts on the path our Souls will chart after leaving this physical plane. I appreciate you taking time to visit, read and leave a comment.

    Janie, I'm very touched by your experiences you shared. That connection of Love truly never dies, and I am not suprised you have reconnected via the dream plane. Those 'dreams' that are very bright & lucid, I believe, are a clear indicator that it isn't 'just a dream'. Recognizing and realizing the messages being communicated therein can be such a blessing!

    Bill, as always, thank you for visiting! The flower concept is simply an analogy, as I agree with you that we become a different collection of energy as we leave the physical plane. The flower analogy is just one that has stayed in my mind's eye for years, and this was the time I felt it in perfect accord to give it voice. It's nice to know it makes a sort of clear logic to those who are reading it!

    Yoga Savy, what a beautiful story and experience you shared! I have had those moments of reunion prior to that other special Soul departing the earthly plane. It is bittersweet, indeed, but no less special for the short duration spent together. Thank you for visiting, reading and sharing your thoughts on this concept; it gave me a warmth deep inside!

    Namaste' to you all,


  6. I know this isn't the thrust of this blog post, but as I read it, a concert started in my head with a favorite song of mine.

    "His church is a beautiful flower...
    and each member is a different hue...
    and He waters our life with His presence...
    As flowers in His garden we grew.

    I love the concept of each person being a flower. I call Dandelion! That's me. :)

  7. Words escape me other than beautifully written, poignant and provocative. Thank you dear for sharing your heartfelt story.

  8. Marty, what a wonderful surprise to see your comment! I loved the song lyrics too - that brought to mind my family reunions where we always sing church spirituals. As for flowers, if I can't be the Dandelion, my next choice would be Lily of the Valley. I love everything about it. Thank you for the gift of your visit!

    Bonnie, I'm so glad you enjoyed this post! You honor me with your kind words, and that's the type of description every writer wishes to hear about their work. Thank you for visiting, reading and expressing how this post touched you.

    ~ Dawn

  9. Just gone through your blog and found it wonderful. It was nice going through your

  10. Beth, hello and thank you for spending time at my blog. I'm so happy you enjoyed the various posts as you explored! There is no better compliment to give a writer - I am full of smiles as a result. :)

    ~ Dawn