That's Life,  THOUGHTS

Healing the Loss – Pink Flowers



Time is a healer; they say. When we grieve the loss of a loved one, nobody can pretend to know that pain. Although almost everyone has loved and lost someone dear to them throughout their own lifetime, each person that grieves goes through their own process and feels as though nobody has known pain like they are experiencing. There doesn’t ever seem to be the right words at those moments when we offer our condolences other than, “I’m sorry for your loss.” For what else can we say? We can’t compare our losses to someone else’s and we can’t pretend to know what they are feeling.

I know I have been to more funerals than I care to count, and for me the hardest part is paying condolences to the ones left behind because I feel that my words cannot do anything to alleviate what they must be experiencing. Yet we follow the protocol of giving condolences, sending flowers and cards because even in those moments when we feel our words can’t help, down the road when time passes and the griever can find a special part of their heart to lay their loved one to rest, they can look back and remember who was there for them, if only in silence.


angel sleep

Today is my step-daughter Sue’s birthday. Sue passed away in March of this year and as a single mom, she left her two boys behind. I wrote a few posts here in March about that time my family lived through and today, four months later, I am acknowledging her birthday.

My husband and I are taking the boys to visit their mom today. I told them I would pick up flowers to bring for all of us and the eldest replied, “I don’t want to take flowers that die.”


I stood in thought for a moment and then I retorted with, “How about we buy a flowering plant and take a little gardening tool with us and plant something that keeps blooming and coming back every year?”

The boys were elated and then the younger one added, “We would love that, let’s make sure they are pink, you know how Mom loved pink.”





A tiny gesture can fill a big hole.



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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.


  • Mary

    Debbie, I am so sorry for your loss, too. And for those precious boys left behind. You are so wise to recognize no one can know what another person is feeling or how they grieve and heal… if they ever heal.

    There is one thing that always helps someone who is grieving and that is knowing you your care by showing up. If you visit a grieving family and can’t think of something to say… say nothing. Let them see you… see your face. That picture is pretty down the road.

    What a beautiful gesture for the boys wanting a living plant. Seems they are very wise, too. I wish I could say something to help. Just know that I care, Debbie! Lots of hugs for all!

  • Holistic Wayfarer

    Makes me sorrow all over again to know she left behind two boys. I just love the planting idea. What a gift to them. You know how I feel about all those words flying at those who grieve, Deb. But planting flowers like that would be such an amazing gift to them.

  • marianbeaman

    A living plant for memories still alive – love it! Your ending is poignant and true: A tiny gesture can fill a big hole. On our master bathroom wall is a framed relief print with the words “No act of kindness however small is ever wasted.” I try to practice what it preaches.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Marian. I wrote that ending and only when I reread it I realized how big that statement was and how metaphoric it was. I speak of kindness a lot. In fact this is the quote I wrote at the back of my new book Meno-What? A Memoir — “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

  • Let's CUT the Crap!

    All the firsts after a passing are heartbreaking, not that the seconds are much easier. You are lucky the site allows plantings. Many do not. I prefer plantings myself but they are mostly outlawed.
    To all the family, sorry for your loss. <3

  • elainemansfield

    Sweet gift to these boys, Debby. How hard this must be for them. I’ve worked in bereavement for a while, and I err on the side of stepping right up to people with my heart open. If they deflect (and that rarely happens), it’s OK. They know I know and care. I look people in the eye, hug them or hold their hand, and simply say, “I’m sorry.” As you say, grief can be an isolating experience and we don’t know what another is going through, but I can always try. So I say to you and your husband and your grandsons that I am so, so sorry.

    • dgkaye

      Thank you again Elaine for your kindness. I know that’s how you are and I am the same, in that I feel I have to say something in those moments of people’s grief. I just feel as though it can never be enough, but deep within I know it counts, even if not at that moment, but when one remembers who was there.

  • Christina ~

    You are such a blessing…especially to have the wisdom and grace to make such a precious memory for those boys. I am quite sure they will never forget it. Even more, it is a truly beautiful way to show your love and remembrance of Sue’s legacy of love for her children… ~ Sending huge hugs and lots of love… <3 !

  • Mélanie

    impressive and emotional… our loved ones who passed-away, suddenly or slowly, continue to live in our hearts… courage, strength and serenity!

  • aedmonds315

    DG, Thinking of you and those boys, Posting an angel note for all of you. What a beautiful thing to do. You gave those boys a little bit of joy on what must have been a very hard day. <3

  • Malcolm Greenhill

    In the Jewish tradition the way to pay your condolences to the family of the bereaved is to wish them long life. This approach seems to avoid the difficulties you write about. Also, thank you for liking ‘Paper Bag Treasure’ on A Holistic Journey.

    • dgkaye

      Thank you Malcom for visiting. You are correct. The post your read was written back in March when my husband’s daughter passed (Catholic). I recently wrote a post on the passing of my mother (Jewish). 🙂

  • annepeterson

    Really liked your post. I believe our presence speaks loudly to those who have lost a loved one. And since we are all so different, we really don’t know what they are going through even though our experiences may be similar. I find one thing that grievers like to do is share memories of their loved one, because one of their deepest fears is that he/she will be forgotten. I’ve never had someone who’s grieving unable to share a story about the one who has died.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much Anne for sharing here. And yes, perhaps the tribute we write or speak about our lost loved ones serves as a keepsake for our own memories.

  • Lily

    Hi I am trying to find the name of the pink flower that you brought to your step daughter’s burial. It is so beautiful. If you can give me the name I would really appreciate it. Thanks sorry for your loss

  • D. Wallace Peach

    How lovely that you were able to adjust to your grandson’s needs. Planting flowers is a great way for kids to grieve. Cooking her favorite meal together is another active one. I’m so sorry for the loss. It takes a long time to adjust to the hole left by grief.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much for visiting again Cathy. And again, I’m sorry for your loss. I know very well how hard it is on those left behind. Thanks for your interest in my book. <3

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