Gardenia magnifica

I woke up this morning to the heart wrenching news that my friend’s father had passed away. It was like a kick to the stomach, and even though I was on the other side of the world, my heart ached deeply for my friend who must now face a lifetime without his dad.

None of us can escape grief. We are all destined to lose a loved one at some point in our lives. Some of us encounter grief when we are young. Others experience it when they are older. But none of us can escape it.

Everybody’s journey of grief is unique, that much is true. Yet I believe there is a universal truth that binds all grieving together: grief will inevitably outlast sympathy. While flowers and cards may stop arriving on the doorstep, there is no expiry date on grief. It may lessen over time. The pain may dull and ease. But grief never truly goes away.

It hides away inside of us, and emerges when we least expect it. A photo, a ray of light, a string of words, a smell, a musical note – all of these (and more) can trigger the grief, the tears and the heartache that come from losing someone we love.

Amidst the festive carols, the holiday lights and the shiny decorations, let us not forget those amongst us who will be grieving this Christmas. It doesn’t take much to show we care – a note, a letter, a hug and five simple words – “I am thinking of you” – are often more than enough.

* * *

These flowers are gardenia magnifica and they are as fragrant as they are beautiful. They were left over from a wedding service held at our church last Sunday – our first this year. Tomorrow, sadly, there will be a funeral service instead – our fourth this year.

The magnifica was creamy white when we brought it home; eventually it turned yellow before the petals began to wither and crumple.

Such is the ebb and flow of life: transient yet rich with beauty. But though it is transient, we can nonetheless cherish it – every moment of every day.

More flora here.

26 comments

jody December 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm

So beautifully written. xo

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Chloe Moon December 13, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Oh dear…my condolences to your friend. Your right, life is transient, but breathtaking beautiful!

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Claire December 13, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Rhonda your writing is amazing. Just wanted to tell u.

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Pink Ronnie December 17, 2012 at 8:59 am

Thanks dear Claire.
Ronnie xo

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Debie Grace December 13, 2012 at 7:29 pm

I have felt grief a lot of times but it was the hardest when I lost my parents. I have always thought that when you’re faced with grief, you should feel it because after it *goes* away, you won’t feel sad about it and slowly understand why it happened. But I was wrong, every now and then, I feel it randomly. Every now and then, when I stumble upon something from years ago, I feel it. Even the things that don’t matter to me ever since remind me of the things from the past… and then I feel grief again. So, it’s true that grief never really goes away; it goes back when it wants attention.

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Pink Ronnie December 17, 2012 at 8:59 am

Dear Debie,
I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like to lose both your parents at such a young age… I think of you a lot.
Ronnie xo

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Shoko December 14, 2012 at 12:32 am

this is beautiful, ronnie. and so, so true.

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Rin December 14, 2012 at 2:29 am

Beautiful words.

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Jane December 14, 2012 at 2:32 am

Sending condolences to your friend. Someone I know (a friend of a friend) just lost her father. I love that… “I’m thinking of you”. Sometimes people feel at a loss for words and something so simple as a hug or a I love you or thinking of you really does make a word of a difference. Thanks for sharing, Ronnie.

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Latrina December 14, 2012 at 4:15 am

Very well put, Ronnie. And so well written.

From someone who has also lost a parent, I can definitely agree with you. Grief will always be there. At times when you least expect it, too. Especially during Holidays… Christmas is the worse. My heart aches for your friend. It truly does… But it warms my soul to know that they have wonderful friends like you. <3

Thank you for this. On so many levels, thank you!

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Pink Ronnie December 17, 2012 at 9:00 am

Thinking of you this Christmas, Trina.
Big hugs,
Ronnie xo

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Jo December 14, 2012 at 6:49 am

Thanks Ronnie. a beautiful post at a difficult time for you and your friend.

Best wishes.

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Geraldine December 14, 2012 at 9:11 am

My deepest condolence to your friend, I can fully relate as I lost my dad just after the festive season 3 years ago. I can still remember spending time with him in hospital on new years eve . This time of year is tough for some families but I try to look upon it as celebrating the ones you love x

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Laura Gofton December 14, 2012 at 10:33 am

My condolences to your friend Ronnie, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to lose a parent. Thank you for the reminder to hold the ones we love and experience the beauty of our precious everyday life.
x Laura

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Meg O December 14, 2012 at 11:43 am

Lovely, soulful post. It does make you want to cherish every day with loved ones!
Well timed, also… Christmas is a time for love and joy, yet a time of such loneliness for many…
Mental note: must make an effort to spread the love far and wide (as cheesy as that sounds)
x Meg

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Elisa {With Grace & Eve} December 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm

So beautifully, and mindfully expressed. Left a lump in my throat. A reminder to count our blessings and speak more I love yous. Thank you xx

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Danya Banya December 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm

My condolences for your friend and for everyone grieving out there. This time of year is hard, so many memories, traditions unfulfilled.

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Katherine | Gathered Heart December 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm

What a beautiful and poignant post, Ronnie, and such a great reminder to cherish life and loved ones.

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Cory December 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Yes, we will always miss those whom we love that pass on. Time does not take that away, though, I hear that the brutal shock and sting of it does fade.
I have yet to lose a parent, and I can’t imagine how I will possibly deal with that. I am very close to both of them.
XO
C

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gaby December 14, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Given the news we’ve woken up to this morning, this post was perfect to read right now. Thanks for sharing x

p.s. congratulations on baby BOY!

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Pink Ronnie December 14, 2012 at 11:35 pm

I know, how utterly devastating for those families.
Simply heartbreaking…
Ronnie xo

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Olga December 16, 2012 at 7:37 am

My mum passed away 6 years ago and I will tell you that as terrible as it was, it has been the most significant event in my life. It has altered my whole life and I am a better person for it. It has deeply connected me to my spirit and my reason for being here. I have also connected with my mum in a way I never did when she was here physically. She is with me every day in everything that I do. Everything happens for a reason, like you say, it is the ebb and flow of life. Sending so much love to your friend, she will get through this, no doubt. It is the human condition to survive and ultimately thrive. xxx

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Pink Ronnie December 17, 2012 at 9:01 am

I am so sorry for your loss Ola. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us. So precious.
Ronnie xo

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Carrie December 16, 2012 at 6:54 pm

I’m sorry about your loss. One of my old best friends mother passed away a couple of years ago and it broke my heart. You know that parent that you grew up with, you always visited their house, you always spoke to them when you saw them out… I was at a loss for words. Losing a loved one is very upsetting.

I’ll keep you and your friend in my prayers.

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Pink Ronnie December 18, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Thank you Carrie, and thanks so much for stopping by too.
Ronnie xo

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I love hearing from you!

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