It’s a tough anniversary for my wife this weekend; the first Mother’s Day after her Mom died this past December.  There will be tears, heartache, memories and roses.

I find it fascinating that Moms are synonymous with flowers.  It doesn’t seem to matter whether Mom was or is a gardener, there are always flowers associated with her.  With my Mom it’s daisies, peonies and apple blossoms.  With my wife’s Mom, my mother-in-law, it was and always will be roses.

Being of Italian descent she was Nonna to our two children and that was the name I always addressed her as.  Nonna wasn’t what I would call a keen gardener but she always had a small garden and when she moved into a small suite on her own after her husband passed there were plenty of containers full of flowers on her patio.  She also grew amazing basil plants that left me envious.  I could fuss over my crop at home incessantly but my plants never reached the size or intensity of flavour that Nonna’s achieved.  She had a similar gift with houseplants and geraniums, which she overwintered in her tiny apartment, allowing them to become enormous by summer’s end outside.  I envied those too.

Because the space was small we planted miniature roses alongside the patio and when she moved to another location in the same building I dug them up and transplanted them for her.  We were both pleased to see them leaf out and burst into bloom the next year.

Nonna died on her 90th birthday this past December.  She was a picture of health and contentment right up until she entered the hospital less than two weeks before she took her last breath.  At her funeral Mass there could only be one type of flower used in the floral tributes.  My amazing co-workers in the flower shop pulled out all the stops to create a breathtaking casket spray of roses in multiple colours.  Those roses went with Nonna as she left us to be reunited with Nonno.

I’m pretty sure when we see Nonna again she’ll be sitting on her patio surrounded by her beloved roses.  Moms are special and the memories last forever; our time with them here does not.  Be sure to honour your Mom this Sunday.

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