Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Rose For Love

Julie's Rose - 'Remember Me'

In my previous blog, on eHarlequin, I wrote a very similar post to this on a slightly different occasion. I make no apologies for reposting this. Not today.

Almost ten years ago, my beautiful sister-in-law was killed in a shocking car crash. She was on her way to work, to the junior school where she taught, and her car collided head-on with a van coming round a very tight, sloping corner on an icy road. She was the BM’s little sister – the baby in the family – she had two young children, aged ten and twelve, and her death devastated us all.

The following July her birthday came round as a desperately empty date. There were no presents to wrap and deliver, no cards to send. But we had to mark the day somehow, So the BM and I went to the local garden centre where I bought a beautiful rose bush. The flowers are a deep, burnt orange colour with a golden centre, and the rose’s official name is ‘Remember Me’. We planted the rose bush in our garden, with the other roses we have.

It has now been there for nine years. The other rose bushes grow and flower and are beautiful all the summer. This rose, known as Julie’s rose, has three separate flowerings Every summer, it puts out leaves, then buds, tightly curled buds that only unfurl slowly- slowly. Other roses around it flower much earlier, but this one seems to wait to open into full bloom , without fail, in the week of July 5th – my sister-in-law’s birthday. The next time the beautiful blooms appear is in September when it should be her wedding anniversary. And then, in November, the week of her death, in spite of the cold and greyness of the weather, there is always one last tiny rose opening up as if in memoriam.

I’m not quite sure what this really means. I’ve tried to do things in ways that might change them slightly – prune the rose bush slightly differently, feed the roots more - or less . The weather conditions should surely affect the way it flowers? But nothing seems to change its flowering pattern in any way. And this week, it's just the same. This is the week in which Julie's birthday falls - she would be 45 - and the rose that illustrates this post is her rose, photographed this week, blooming beautifully to celebrate right on cue. It is the only rose in bloom on that bush - right at the very top of it.

And so today, as I was waiting for the kettle to boil to make the first cup of tea of the day, I looked out of the kitchen window towards where the rose bush is blooming in all its glory, and I said ‘Morning, Julie. Happy Birthday!’ as if I was speaking to my sister-in-law herself. I hope I am in some way. I don’t have a great explanations for why this happens except that as a message of love between Julie, the BM and me, it’s just about perfect.

And it reminds me once again that love is the strongest possible force humanity has. Love is the strength we have to carry on in the face of horror, tragedy and loss. That’s why I write about it.

I wish every one of you the special warmth that love can bring in your hearts today – and always.


Anonymous said...

I know EXACTLY where you're coming from, Kate. (We have a honeysuckle that always seems to have a flower in December - you know the story behind that one.) Lovely post - very uplifting. Sending you a big hug.

Anonymous said...

I think you know in your heart why this happens, Kate.

Michelle Styles said...

I remember your post and still think it is a beautifully touching story, And well worth repeating every July.

Happy birthday Julie indeed.

Anne McAllister said...

I've seen Julie's rose and it's beautiful. Happy birthday, Julie.


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