Journey 215: White Roses

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.

white roses headstone

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.

white roses

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.

white roses bob and leta young couple

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.

white roses bob and leta older couple

Day 45: Hand Out Roses on Valentine’s Day


Valentine’s Day, the day of celebrating love, is not a happy day for everyone. For some it is a painful or lonely holiday. This is also Random Acts of Kindness Week. My desire for today’s first was to combine the two events by handing out roses to people. What happened was that the first became much more intentional, rather than random! It was a sweet experience.

A busy day kept me from doing my first until this evening. By the time I headed out to buy flowers and give them away, the sun was setting and a beautiful full moon was rising. It seemed appropriate, somehow. And it influenced my choice of roses. I had envisioned buying yellow roses, for friendship. What I selected were gorgeous roses as white as the moon that was shining brightly in the velvet sky.

I asked to be guided to people who could use a smile and a reminder that someone cares about them. And the fun began. The first recipient was the cashier at the store where I made my purchase. She admired the roses as I dug in my purse for money. The look on her face as I handed her one, and wished her a Happy Valentine’s Day, was priceless. My focus became people who were working this evening, while others were out on special dates. The girl who handed me my tea at Sonic got a rose as did the young lady behind the counter in McDonalds.

I enjoyed my stroll through this fast food restaurant. McDonald’s isn’t a common destination for Valentine’s dinner. There were four men present, each sitting alone, engrossed in their computers or cell phones. I walked by each one and dropped a rose on their tables, wishing them a happy day. The three older men gave me startled looks, smiled and thanked me. As I walked toward the last guy, a considerably younger man who had been listening to music, he removed his earbuds and looked at me with a hopeful expression. I laughed as I gave him his rose. He beamed.

My last stop was to one of my favorite places in Joplin, Cupcakes by Liz, on Main Street. I knew Liz, Jim and their staff had put in a very long and busy day. I gave my last roses to the ladies working so diligently in the kitchen, baking and boxing up beautiful edible creations. I left feeling really good about making a dozen people smile tonight, and hopefully, feel appreciated. I didn’t leave Cupcakes by Liz empty handed though. Happy Valentine’s Day to me!