As we prepare for the Celebration of Life, for Bob Moore in the morning, I had the privilege of undertaking the self-appointed task of finding flowers for a special container. When Leta was laid to rest 16 years ago, Bob bought a double headstone with an urn between them. The urn has their wedding date, November 21, 1941, engraved on it. My journey today was to find weather proof flowers to place in that space of remembrance.
I knew I wanted to buy roses, which represent love. However, before I headed to Hobby Lobby to shop, I researched roses online. To my delight, I discovered that while roses are truly the archetypal flower of love and appreciation, the different colors symbolize different meanings. Red, which is commonly used, represents love and affection. Pink is for admiration of beauty and refinement, and yellow is for friendship.
The white rose signifies a love that is pure and straight from the heart. However, there is a deeper meaning as well. Also called the “flower of light”, the white rose represents everlasting love…a love that is stronger than death, eternal, undying and all sustaining. The white rose speaks of love so deep that it endures beyond all else.
I knew I had found the right color for the roses that will adorn Bob and Leta’s gravesite. Married for 57 years, theirs was a love that endured through service in the military and frequent moves, airplane crashes (Greg’s dad survived two), five miscarriages, and two battles with breast cancer. Perhaps because of some of the challenges that they faced, together, Bob and Leta developed a strong companionship that allowed them to journey, hand in hand, through all of life’s landscapes and terrains.
When I met them, they were in their 50’s. Although they had their own hobbies and interests….Bob flew airplanes, fished and gardened, Leta crocheted and did cross-stitch, and enjoyed creative craftwork…they enjoyed doing many things together. I watched them cook meals, iron clothes, do housework, side by side. I seldom found one, without the other nearby. When Leta was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, that sense of journeying together, no matter what, never wavered. Bob walked with her, until she could no longer walk. And then he cared for her as she lay bedridden, holding her hand when she passed, keeping her home with him because he couldn’t imagine her anywhere else.
As we tell Bob “See you later” tomorrow, the white roses that will rest between their stones will symbolize a love that has indeed endured through time and beyond, eternal and untouched by death. Their vows that they exchanged so many years ago reflect a higher level of promise. “Til death do us part” until Leta let go of Bob’s hand and slipped into the next realm to wait for her love. “Til death do we meet again” fulfilled last Friday as Bob let go of this life….and took the hand of his beloved once more.