Sunny Blossoms | Sunflowers at Her Grave

“Shine Brightly.” PhotoArt by Diane W.

Some time ago I shared a short sunflower poem written by rupi kaur on the blog. I think of this poem often—whenever I think of my sisters, my friend Julie’s oldest daughter (who was also my student), my pen friend Eileen V’s daughter, and others who passed far too soon.

As I was noting the darkness in my office one stormy morning this week, I mentioned to Julie that I need to transfer my sunflower wall back to my office at work, and she began telling me her special sunflower story.

She planted sunflowers at her daughter’s gravesite. For some time, she tended that garden, a necessary act as she worked through those first shocking moments of grief. The garden grew and grew, as gardens do. Eventually but unsurprisingly, she was told it had to be scaled back (out of respect for other decedents and their families). She was able to chuckle a little when she shared that part, as there has been by this time enough distance between the shattering pain of losing a daughter so young and the present moment.

The image of a gravesite bedecked in sunflowers reminded me of the statement my blogging friend, writer Ellen H, made in a comment on one of my recent posts about grief—

Beauty is both stunning and sad. —Ellen Hawley

There is a cost to beauty, so while I marvel over the amazing grace God showers on mothers who lose their daughters, I am keenly aware that the loss leaves a wound that never heals. As Julie says, “it’s a club to which no mother wants to belong.”

Even so, I thank God for Karlette, Lori, Témar, and Alanna. Though there is sadness, I am in awe of the stunning gifts of their brief but brilliant lives.

despite knowing
they won’t be here for long

they still choose to live

their brightest lives

rupi kaur, “sunflowers,” from the sun and her flowers


About the Image: The sunflower art in this evening’s post comes from a photo-art journal crafted by my swap-bot pal, Diane W (aka midteacher). I shared most of the beautiful journal on the blog a few years ago, with a promise to come back and share four of the images in individual posts. I’ll get to the other three…eventually.

2 thoughts on “Sunny Blossoms | Sunflowers at Her Grave

  1. DutchIl says:

    Thank you for sharing!!… your thoughts brought to mind a poem I saw first on TV and found on the internet… 🙂
    When I die
    Give what’s left of me away
    To children
    And old men that wait to die.

    And if you need to cry,
    Cry for your brother
    Walking the street beside you.
    And when you need me,
    Put your arms
    Around anyone
    And give them
    What you need to give to me.

    I want to leave you something,
    Something better
    Than words
    Or sounds.

    Look for me
    In the people I’ve known
    Or loved,
    And if you cannot give me away,
    At least let me live on your eyes
    And not on your mind.

    You can love me most
    By letting
    Hands touch hands,
    By letting
    Bodies touch bodies,
    And by letting go
    Of children
    That need to be free.

    Love doesn’t die,
    People do.
    So, when all that’s left of me
    Is love,
    Give me away.
    (Epitaph, Merrit Malloy)

    Hope all is well in your part of the world and until we meet again…
    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

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