Sunday, June 16, 2013

Flowers Can Brighten One's Day

Flowers can brighten one’s day or help you to think positive thoughts and could possibly improve emotional health according to recent behavioral studies, says Elaine Stillwell in an article she wrote for Grief Digest.

Smell the roses, she says. Slow down, get through another day in our grief journey, smile, see the beauty, add cheer to our day…all reasons to actually enjoy receiving flowers. Flowers can turn frowns upside down, alter our attitudes, slow us down, give us time to enjoy beauty and nature and quiet. An elegant floral arrangement can literally brighten our day. We are more likely to be less anxious, depressed and restless knowing someone cares. We believe we are not alone in our grief because someone cares when we receive flowers.

Filling our home with flowers gives off a message of warmth and good cheer and can do wonders for our personal state of mind. Red roses say “I love you” and sunflowers claim, “You are the sunshine of my life.” White flowers are for reverence and pink flowers show appreciation.

Each color produces a different reaction: red suggests passion, green is nurturing and relaxing, violet generates calm and peace, pink soothes and calms feelings, yellow spreads sunshine, blue relieves hypertension. Sadly, these meanings are not universal as different parts of the world have different connotations.

Flowers can speak volumes; they help express thoughts, feelings and emotions, especially when words are hard to find. Since there are no words that will take away our grief, I’ve learned that flowers can generate positive thoughts, put us in a much better frame of mind and promote our healing.

I have always loved flowers and instead of having them in my home, I bring flowers to the cemetery where my daughter is buried. I started by bringing live flowers. Her favorite was white lilies, as her wedding bouquet displayed, and so I keep that tradition and placed the lilies on her grave stone each time I visited. Because the cemetery has asked us not to put real flowers on the stones anymore, as the cleanup is much harder, I have now switched to silk lilies and put them in the ground right behind the stone. It surprises me how long they last, through hot summers, rainy days and cold days. And the caretakers know how important it is to me, so when they mow the lawn, they are careful not to run them over. It is almost as though she is watching over them and saying to the caretakers, “Don’t ruin my flowers. I love them.”

If my daughter were alive and had her own home, I know she would have planted lots of flowers in her backyard. She adored them. I remember her eyes lit up and it always brought a smile to her face when she received a bouquet.

Surrounding ourselves with flowers is one way to feel better and to experience some welcome serenity when we are battling grief.

As Lady Bird Johnson, who also lost a child, once said, “Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”