I am trying to remember when the tradition began for me. Perhaps it was with the dozen white roses I had received. I had been given the honor of writing a life story for a dear soul whose garden grander than a feature of a magazine. She had graciously given me a bouquet of a special flower from her native home of Germany. Elegance, grace, and a sense of humor that added light into a room as breathtaking as the sunlight upon the lavender, yellow, and pink in her flower bed displays. Her garden had been expanded upon through the years, thirty plus years in the make.
A few months passed from the time I had written her story until the roses became a centerpiece. When she left Earth, the white roses were one of her legacies. She had arranged for white roses to be given to all who had provided care to her the last months she lived. So kindly, she had included my name on the list of those to receive this beautiful gift.
After the roses reached their end of life, too, I couldn’t bring myself to toss them as I might typically do. Always appreciative of any flower bouquet I received, these roses were speaking differently to me. Their stems no longer in the dirt, no longer rooted in place. And yet, they still seem threaded to the very dear soul who had given them away. As some when performing a rite of passage ritual from this Earth believe, I could hear ashes to ashes, dust to dust whispering. These roses were too beautiful to be tossed into the dark amongst trash or compost. They belonged back in nature, to what these roses had known.
To a stream these roses were carried, and with a prayer they were let go. Namaste’ my dear roses, for I believe all living things have a soul. No longer seen were rose pedals with touches of brown because they had begun to fade. Instead, they glistened against the sunlight and the water as they made their way. The roses couldn’t be kept under lock and key; each moment, person, and thing have their time for release. Since it was time to set them free, it seemed fitting for their final beauty to be seen by the squirrels, birds, and trees.
By now you may be looking at this picture and thinking it is not white roses that you see. It is two other bouquets of flowers that are now sharing their final beauty. Each bouquet was given out of love and in celebration of two special days. Our twenty-fifth anniversary and my milestone birthday. Different than the white roses, but the specialness the same. Every bouquet since the white roses have met the stream as their resting place.
As it is in letting go of those things that hold a special meaning in our hearts, we have a choice in how we part. We can look and see only the faded blooms and feel sad that it is now time to say goodbye. Or we can look and see the vibrant colors still shining and feel joy that we connected for a time. We can honor the gift we were given no matter the length of stay by providing a bon voyage in a grateful way. There are those wise words that say set something free, for there is nothing that is ours alone to keep. I would add that when we let go, we also make room for what else may come to be. If I was still holding on to what would now be thorny stems without a rose, I might have missed other bouquets awaiting their chance to be on display. Other cut flowers whose purpose it was to be held in a vase.
Perhaps it is a bouquet of flowers or it is a memory. Perhaps there something you are holding on to that is whispering it is okay to set me free. Can you ceremoniously let what it might be find it’s place in the current to carry it on its way? Can you trust that by letting it go, you are allowing other things to flow into its place? It isn’t about replacing, for each touch of our heart is extraordinarily unique. It’s about expansion and letting our hearts be touched by more than just one thing It’s about our hearts opening to immense capacity. And, it’s about letting other things enjoy the beauty we have known too. Like a bouquet of flowers that now give the squirrels, birds, and trees a spectacular view.