Last week, I had a meeting with one of my good friend’s mothers who asked me to come over and help her plan her celebration of life. I must admit it was the first time this has happened. Frequently, I help people I don’t know over the phone and really enjoy asking questions about their loved one and guiding them through planning a memorial service. However, it seems very different when the person is still alive and very well and also a good friend’s mother.
As I walked through the garage, I noticed her car could barely fit in due to all the shelves of neatly arranged stuff on both sides. Upon further review, I noticed many of the shelves were full of beautiful vases. Margie is an avid floral designer and has even won some competitions in the San Francisco area. When it came time to discuss what sorts of flowers she would like she was very clear about which color and which varieties of roses and other flowers she liked. She was also very clear about which floral shop she wanted to handle the flowers.
As we were going through the house, she was showing me many of the antiques she had collected from her travels around the world. Each piece had a story. It was then that I suggested she put a note on each piece of furniture or art with the story behind the piece and suggestions of who might like the piece. It was then I noticed the various vases that were on tables, above armoires and I said, Margie, how about we take these vases to the florist and the ones in the garage and use them for the flowers. You can put names on the bottom and we will give the flowers with the vase to attendees after the service for them to take home and enjoy. Each time they see the vase, they will remember you and your love of flowers. I also suggested that if the vase has a story, please share the story on a note on the bottom of the vase. Margie lit up and thought that was a fabulous idea. She took me out to her garden where she wants the life celebration to be held and showed me where she wanted the various vases and suggested side tables that we could set the vases on.
So there we have it, we solved four problems at once: one, what to do with all those lovely vases; two, how to personalize the service with Margie’s favorite vases all around the garden; three, a gift of a beautiful vase to selected family and friends to enjoy; and lastly, giving the flowers away for people to enjoy for several more days instead of throwing them away.