I just spent six days in Florida catching up with my mom, aunt, uncle, cousin and friends. It was just what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately, the trip was marred by some bad news. A friend of mine lost her 20-year-old stepson in a tragic accident.
It was her husband's only child so it is heartbreaking beyond belief. I felt so bad that I had to leave Florida on Monday and would not be able to attend the funeral today. Just a week ago today, my friend and I spent a fun-filled day together. He husband gave me a tour of the back yard that they are transforming into a beautifully landscaped garden replete with a waterfall, pool, sitting area and brick oven.
As we walked away from their back yard, my friend casually mentioned she hoped to see her stepson married in that very place that was to be their future garden sanctuary.
All week I sat up here in Connecticut feeling helpless because I couldn't be back down in Florida to comfort my dear friend. I wanted to do something--needed to do something--but sending a bouquet of flowers just seemed too cliche.
I trolled the internet for some ideas. Then I remembered last weekend walking at dusk in my mom's neighborhood and discovering a bush filled with fragrant, white gardenia blooms. A fond memory came back to me I was living in Florida at 20 years old, and discovered this beautiful gardenia tree during the month of April. I picked a bushel full of blooms and put them in a vase, the sweet smell of the flowers wafted throughout the house.
My friend's stepson was born in April and died only seven days after his 20th birthday--April 22. I had a blooming gardenia tree shipped to my friend's home and suggested she plant the tree in the back yard in remembrance of her stepson.
It is my hope that every April that tree will be in full bloom to honor the tragic passing of a young man gone from this earth too soon.