I have been lucky, you might say, that in my working life I've been able to participate in various rites of passage in the lives of others. Firstly, in my nursing and midwfiery career B.C (before children), and more recenty, in my floral work.
These major events can profoundly shape our destiny, they can affect who we become, sometimes positively, occasionaly negatively. From that first "kiss" as a teenager to the death of a loved one be it a pet or a family member, these events go to make us the people we are.
Maybe I'm getting older but I am certainly more philosophical than I used to be, I embrace these life events, particularly as I've been priviledged to have been at the beginning of many a new life - sharing in parental joy, assisting in a safe delivery of a baby (in my days as a midwife). Equally I have also been present at the end of a life sadly on occasion, as a midwife but more often in my days as a nurse. For some, I understand these occasions are very difficult, people quite understandably are uneasy about such issues even when they are not directly involved. With the many experiences I've had in my past career, as a mother and yes, even as a florist, this is perhaps less daunting for me - I view life as a journey, be it long or a short one; beginning at our birth and ending in our death. There are so many events inbetween which punctuate our lives often involving huge emotions. Life really is a roller coaster and for some this can be more exciting, more turbulent, more, or less fortunate for some than others. That's the bit I love about us humans - we are all unique, we all have a story to tell.
This week I arranged flowers for a gentleman you will not be surprised to learn, I'd never met. I had the pleasure of meeting his family; his wife, his daughters and grand children, all in different stages of their own grief. We talked about who and what he was and also how they thought people outside of the family saw him. I had this chat on a few occasions with various family members, I had a glimpse of the man as a father, a husband, a member of the community. I'm quite sure I would've liked him and I hope I have captured something of him in his farewell flowers.
As I arranged these flowers in the little country church where his funeral service will be held, I chatted to his widow. We talked about all sorts of topics from family, to life in general and it was a joy to hear what she had to say. I am grateful for that chat as she gathered and prepared herself for meeting friends and relatives the following day at his funeral. From the hymns to changing the name on the electricity bill, we chatted about it all. I hope she will be strong, taking strength and support of her loving family.
So what is the point of my writing about all this? Here's the thing, I consider myself so lucky that I get an insight into other peoples worlds from just a few days in a single week to, in the case of a wedding, up to and over a year. I hear about their work their hopes and expectations, things which trouble them, the dynamics of various family relationships and more often what makes them laugh and occasionally cry. I get to share in their joy and as I mentioned earlier, witness their sorrow. I am privvy to so much for a humble florist, as an outsider looking in, it frequently gives me hope and nourishes my faith in humanity. So you see it's not all about pretty flowers - we florists think, we feel, we understand and above all we see life in its many guises.