We lost our beloved Tia this month, a woman who has always been there for me and my family, and always with the right doses of affection, advice, tea and biscuits, and gentle wit. Our "aunty" was the woman who my eldest said "was the grandmother she'd never met." While we are all wondering how to take the next steps with her daughter in planning her memorial, I recall her telling me on our last visit to "make it a celebration."
I was honored that her daughter asked me to do her flowers. As I shopped the mart for the perfect flowers, I picked up all the spring color I could find: larkspur, lilies, stock, roses and the last of the spring lilac. Some months back I had come across a gorgeous European gold and ivory tureen at a tag sale. Who knew then that would come to be the perfect vessel for her flowers. I've always had the widest eyes at Tia's many collections, especially her china patterns, so no doubt her flowers would need to be arranged in fine china.
The celebration took place in our family church and Tia's service was THE occasion. As friends gathered to share their moments and memories, women pinned her favorite gardenia on their dresses in homage. The service was a celebration with so many heartfelt readings, eulogies, tears, smiles and songs including a rendition of her favorite "You Are My Sunshine" by my girls. And how fitting that the priest mentioned Tia's life was emblematic of the famous saying by Mother Teresa "do small things with great love." And the flowers--underneath her photograph and urn stood a four-foot long vase that I filled with tall spring blooms, inspired by a time when we visited Filoli Gardens together and she stood in awe of the beauty and nature around her. And in the fine china, I filled it as tight as possible with a classical mix of blooms ever wanting her to somehow see and enjoy her flowers. Although, even if I had a field of flowers to give her, it wouldn't be enough.