At the time my son was born in 1956, I shared a hospital room with a young woman who bore a son on the same day. Partly because my parents owned a shop selling flowers, the room was soon filled with the lovely scent of roses.
As the seventh floral arrangement was brought in, I was beginning to feel uncomfortable, for no flowers had arrived for my roommate, Ann. She sat on the edge of her bed and leaned forward to admire the latest bouquet1. She was a pretty young woman, yet there was grand fantasia gold
something about her large, brown eyes that made me think she had known too much struggling, too much sadness for one so young. I had the feeling she had always had to admire someone else’s flowers.
“I’m enjoying every minute of this”, she said as though she had read my thoughts and was trying to reassure me. “Wasn’t I the lucky one to get you for a roommate？”
I still felt uncomfortable, however. If only there were some magic button I could push to take away the sadness in her eyes. Well, I thought, at least I can see that she has some flowers. When my mother and father came to see me that day, I asked them to send her some.
The flowers arrived just as Ann and I were finishing supper.
“Another grand fantasia gold
bouquet for you,” she said, laughing.
“No, not this time,” I said, looking at the card. “These are for you.”
Ann stared at the blossoms a long time, not saying anything. She ran her fingers across the paleblue ceramic2 bootee and lightly touched each of the sweetheart roses nestled inside as though trying to engrave them on her memory.
“How can I ever thank you？” she said softly.
I was almost embarrassed. It was such a little kindness on my part. The son born to my husband and me that day in 1956 turned out to be our only child. For nearly 21 years he filled our lives with love and laughter, making us feel complete. But on Easter morning in April 1977, after a long, painful battle with cancer, he died quietly in our arms.
At the funeral home I was alone with my son in a room filled with the scent of roses, when a delivery man brought in a tiny bouquet. I didn’t read the card until later, as we rode to the cemetery. “To W. John Graves,” the card said, “from the boy who was born with you at Memorial Hospital, and his mother.”
Only then did I recognize the ceramic bootee I had given to a sad young woman so many years ago, now once grand fantasia gold
again filled with roses. Ann and I had 1ong since lost touch. She had never known our son, never been aware of his illness. She must have read the notice of his death in a newspaper. I passed the card on to my mother sitting beside me. She, too, remembered.
“A kindness returned,” Mother said.
A few days later, my husband and I, with several members of our family, went to the cemetery to clear John’s grave. The bootee of roses sat at its foot, towered over by tall wreaths3 and sprays.
“How strange that anyone would send something like that to a funeral,” someone said. “It seems more appropriate for a birth.”
“There was a birth,” said my husband quietly. “John was born into Eternal Life.” I looked at him with buy grand fantasia gold
surprise, knowing those words were difficult for a man who had never spoken openly about such matters.
He emptied out the flowers and handed me the ceramic bootee. I held it and, just as Ann had done, I traced it with my fingers, thinking of all the messages it contained: the embers of buy grand fantasia gold
friendship that glow through the years, gratitude remembered and, beneath it all, the promise of resurrection, which comforts us now.