Grandparents are such special people. They are the ones that little grandchildren can run to when their parents say no, the ones that give you far too many sweets before dinner and the ones who let you stay up way past your bedtime. They help little people get up to all sorts of mischief they haven’t even thought of yet and can account for those few extra grey hairs on mom and dad’s head! Their arms are always wide open to give the biggest, softest hugs around and their hearts are filled with an abundance of unconditional love. And when you lose them, they leave a really big hole in your heart. I was lucky to have hit the jackpot with my Granny and Grandpa and losing them both within a month of each other is something I still can’t believe. They told the best stories, gave the best hugs and baked the best muffins (well my Granny did anyway!) We were so blessed to have had so much time with them and make so many wonderful memories, but is there ever something as enough time? But it’s these memories I’ll hold onto and treasure – after all, they are the only things that don’t change once everything else has. I find comfort in knowing that they found their way back to each other and they are together again. While I don’t know what they are doing, I hope they are having a fabulous time and perhaps even enjoying their evening sundowner together, arguing over the volume of the television.
“A grandparent is someone with silver in their hair and gold in their heart”
Helping my mom plan their funerals got me thinking about the traditions and processes of funerals. A lot more goes into them than I would have thought and choosing the right flowers was an important part. Flowers have always been a tangible symbol to express deep feelings and emotion because so much can be said with a beautiful bouquet. They are given to those grieving to express feelings of condolence and sympathy and provide comfort, but why do flowers feature so prominently at a funerals? The tradition of flowers at funerals goes back thousands and thousands of years. Aside from their beautiful fragrance, as far back as the Victorian era, flowers were used as a silent expression of emotion since ones feelings were not to be discussed. By surrounding your loved one in the silent words of flowers helped to convey all the feelings that may be too painful to say aloud. Today, flowers create a warmth and softness and their beauty helps to lift the heaviness of the occasion while creating a beautiful, lasting memory.
Flowers not only represent love and sympathy but also eternity and immortality. They represent the fragility of life – in order to grow and flourish, the right conditions need to be met and the same can be said of our own lives. Each type and colour of flower also has a different symbolic meaning and choosing the right flower to represent a lost loved one isn’t always easy because there are so many to choose from. We chose white roses for both my Granny and Grandpa’s funerals with a beautiful heart-shaped wreath to rest on top on the coffin. White roses symbolise hope, loyalty and the promise of heaven. They represent condolences to the family but also new beginnings.
Other popular choices for funerals are lilies (possibly the most popular) representing peace and purity, orchids (pink or white) to represent everlasting love, carnations (the colour of which is important) with pink carnations conveying remembrance and forget-me-nots as an emblem of remembrance, to reminisce and never forget our loved ones.
I love flowers and think their symbolism is so beautiful – so much can be said with a simple bouquet. While some things can’t be fixed and the pain can’t be taken away, just knowing that someone is thinking of you or even sharing your grief can help lighten the load. With the help of the beautiful Fabulous Flowers Florist you can let someone special know you are thinking of them and perhaps bring a fleeting smile to their face. For Josie and her team, it is an honour to be part of such special process and put together the perfect bouquet. Florists play such an important role in so many occasions, happy and sad, often getting to know their customers from birth to death and Fabulous Flowers adds a little something special to each and every delivery. If you are based in Cape Town, be sure to pop into their beautiful flower shop in Claremont, but if not, visit their online florist to see some of their magnificent creations.
Goodbyes are never easy and today we’ll say goodbye to my Grandpa. The pain never quite goes away but given time, tears of heartache become tears of happiness at the reminiscing of precious memories.