Red Roses for Love, for 18 Years, for Gary and Clive

My first husband, Gary, whom I’ve written much about on this blog, died 18 years ago today in Sydney, Australia.

Today, as I’ve done on this date every year since then, I scattered rose petals in remembrance – petals from two red roses, one from our son and one from me.

My mother unknowingly started this tradition, when she, in New Jersey, lovingly composed a prayer a few days after Gary’s death and suggested we also could take red roses to Shelly Beach, Manly, Australia on the day Gary’s brother, older son, our son and I scattered Gary’s ashes there. My son and I have returned together as often as possible. Though we’re often geographically apart, we Skype and call and remember his father on this day, as we do most every day.

Gary loved his sons, his family, nature, animals and all growing things, above ground and beneath the sea. He had an artist’s eye for beauty, evidenced by his photographs, his gardens and the homes he created and tended. He loved ferns, among many other things, and showed me how to pause and stand in awe of this world’s breathtaking beauty and tiny, tender gifts.

Last year (day 132 of our lockdown posts), I was recovering from a broken kneecap (it’s much better now, thankfully) and scattered rose petals just outside, beneath our tree by the sea. Today I walked along the top of the Felixstowe Spa Gardens, looking for a patch of ferns. No ferns in sight … until one petite, perfect fern emerged before me. I’m sure it was Gary’s doing, his presence.

I tried tossing the rose petals over the fence so they’d land around my little fern, but the breeze off the sea kept blowing them back to my feet.

The other part of this tradition involves Clive. I met the second great love of my life between the 2-year and 3-year mark of Gary’s death. Clive has understood everything. Since meeting him, I buy three red roses on this day. The third rose comes home with me, to be placed on Clive’s desk.

My mom always told me I was lucky to have two such great men in my life. I couldn’t agree more.

Red roses for love, for Gary and for Clive.

Wishing you all a blessed summer/winter and covid-free times with loved ones.

3 Responses

  1. Hello Carolyn, what a lovely tradition, and something to share with your son as well. And, as I’m sure she often was, your mum was right! 😊

    • Patricia, thanks so much for your kind comment! You couldn’t be more correct about my mum 🙂 Sounds like maybe yours was that way too x

  2. Good morning, Carolyn, from the Lake of Zurich. Thank you for posting about this loving tradition, honoring your late husband, Gary. As well as as your husband, Clive, and the love you share. Your mother was a wise woman, and I think it’s heartwarming that her prayer, her suggestion, put this tradition in motion.
    Speaking of motion, I have wondered about your knee, and your recovery – and it’s good to know that it’s healing well. Take care, and all the best!

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