A few weeks ago, I lost my Daddy to cancer. Today would have been his 69th birthday. It doesn't matter how "prepared" you think you are, losing a parent is terrible, painful, and leaves and sense of emptiness behind. I am, however, thankful that his cancer gave us all the chance to say goodbye. I wish it hadn't caused him pain, taken away his ability to see and do things he would like to have seen and done, but I am thankful that he wasn't taken suddenly without us being able to tell him we love him and say our goodbyes. Grief is difficult to navigate for the griever, but also for friends and family looking to offer comfort, or having no idea what to say. The truth is, nothing will fix it. Nothing can give me my Daddy back. So many things I've learned in this process that I wish I would have known before and not had to learn in this way. One of those things is how to respond when friends are grieving.
My sister said it all so well in her recent blog post about grief and how she is dealing with it. That it's hard and nobody really knows what to say. Neither of us ever knew what to say or do before. Any time a friend lost a loved one, I said "Let me know if I can do anything". But they probably didn't know what they needed, and they certainly didn't know how to ask if they did, because then the burden was on them to come to me. The things that have helped me the most to feel loved and to deal with the loss and feelings of regret for those times I was unkind to Daddy, or impatient with him, or didn't call when I should have, are the acts of love that I didn't ask for. The things my friends and family just did.
Some friends have just called to chat. That helps. Some friends have brought food over and spent time with me, even unloading the dishwasher with me. That helps. Hugs help. Some friends even made the drive all the way to Augusta from Athens and Atlanta to Daddy's memorial service and visitation on a week day. That meant the world to me. Talking about my Daddy and remembering funny stories help. I'm lucky to be surrounded by people who, whether or not they have experienced this kind of grief before, are trying, and they are succeeding. Just saying something helps, saying anything helps.
Flowers help. The day my Daddy died, we returned home from the hospital, heartbroken and feeling stunned, to a knock on the door about an hour after we arrived. It was flowers from friends. They were so beautiful and bright, they smelled good, and were a reminder of love and kindness and beauty in the world. See, flowers are not a permanent thing. They wither away, but when they're here, they bring joy and beauty. Life is not permanent, but it can be beautiful. I am thankful for the 30 years I had with my Daddy. His time was cut short, but the life he gave his family was plentiful and full of laughs and we are so lucky to have had him for the time we did.
I am so thankful for florists with the skills to bring gorgeous flowers together in gorgeous arrangements for people like me and my family in times of need, and in times of joy.
Some people are so talented in the art of floral design that they share their "how-tos" with others, and it is a true gift. That's the case with Forage & Flower at Serenbe. They share their gift with others with workshops so that anyone can learn to put together a gorgeous arrangement for their own home, or for a friend going through hard times, or even for celebrations!
Owners Kathryn Davenport and Melanie Deyton have a style all their own that brings beauty and joy to events and their workshop which Christina attended. Have you ever wondered how to create a gorgeous one-of-a-kind arrangement? You too can learn how by attending a class in their shop, which is a beautiful place that smells amazing at one of our favorite places to go, Serenbe, of course. After the workshop, you'll have an arrangement you made from the supplies in class to give to anyone you may want to offer a little healing to. It will be even more special coming from your creativity, guided by these two artists.
Forage and Flower also offers floral services for weddings including full service planning. Go look through their previous work on their website. Their work is so natural and stunning, we should all go and learn a little from them.
A special thank you to Forage and Flower for inviting us to this workshop and for sharing your talents. Also, a special thank you to the friends and family who have expressed condolences, called, sent a card, flowers, food, themselves, and just been generally loving to me and my family. We are very thankful for the empathy and kindness from those around us, and we are so very lucky to know you.