Sunday, May 9, 2021

A Single White Carnation


There is a beautiful tradition of passing out carnations to the mothers in the congregation on Mother's Day.  One single, fresh cut, long stemmed carnation for each mother.  A red one to those whose mother is still living.  A white one to those whose mother has passed on.  I am sixty years old and have never received a red carnation. Yes, my precious mama passed six years before the birth of my 1st child.  A year before I met and married my husband.  

Some years I have felt simply honored and loved when I received my carnation.  Some years, I have felt my own mother was honored and remembered by my receiving of this floral symbol.  Some years where too busy and hectic to even reflect upon the significance of this tribute.  But this year, the still, quiet perfect storm that it is, I felt tender, poignant sadness.  

This brought forth reflection.  Tears shed that it has been nearly 40 years since I had my mother.  Memories of her laugh and her love.  Grief for those I love that have also been without their mother for way too long.  Thankfulness for the women in my life who have helped to fill that void through the years.  And more longing for the ones who are not here any more.  Grateful that they have all gone on to glory and are safe with our Lord.  Joy in the hugs of beautiful grandchildren.  Loneliness that my own children cannot be with me this year.  Pain for those who cannot be with their mamas.  Hurt for those whose mamas failed them and for the mamas that have to live with that regret.  Lastly, a sense of longing to comfort, uplift and brighten the day for one and finding myself at a loss as to how to do it.  Perhaps that is the root of this mood, not the carnation.


  1. We have a similar tradition except we usually wear a corsage with a red carnation if your mother is living and a white one if your mother has passed. We also have recognition to the oldest mother, the newest mother, the mother with the most children and of course all mothers.

    I feel for your loss. I was 43 when my dad passed and it puts you in a club that no one knows about unless you have lost a parent. I've reflected on children I taught who lost a parent. You were also so very young.

    As far as lifting people up, I can tell from what you write that you do by nature.

  2. You're BACK!! Don't make yourself so scarce.

  3. Interesting. I am conflicted about Mother's Day, so I won't say any more than that.

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