Day 209: Flowers with Grandma

Azia and I spent a few hours this afternoon helping Grandma get started on the flowers (or actually the whole names, made out of these flowers) that she creates to decorate graves every Memorial Day.

She's been making these as long as I can remember. As we talked today, I realized that's because she's been doing it as long as I've been alive and most of the years she's been alive. She said she'd started by helping her mom. It drove her dad crazy, how crazy her mom would get with the flowers. She didn't create names like my Grandma Elda, but instead created wreathes and sprays and arrangements of all sizes with all different kinds of flowers. It was something her mom liked to do, and it kept her busy during the day. Grandma said she was the only one of her siblings who ever really helped her mom make the flowers. After she moved out she once mailed her mom in Idaho a huge box full of flowers she created in her home in Spokane so her mom could use them for her arrangements. She still remembers how happy her mom was to get the box in the mail. Eventually, Grandma started making flowers for her own arrangements.

I remember curling these petals for my grandma when I was barely into elementary school.  And I remember being better at it than I was today. I know Grandma's hands frustrate her sometimes. A few years ago she finally had to admit she couldn't quilt anymore, leaving behind a hobby and art she'd loved for more than half a century.

But today her hands were quick and smooth. She curled petals and twisted wire and the pile of roses grew beside her as I flattened (rather than curled) each petal I worked with and pushed holes right through the center each time I tried to shape a leaf. She laughed at the pile of crepe paper accidents Azia and I were building, and told us favorite stories about her children whose graves these flowers would be placed on in a few weeks.

Our flower making progress is slow but steady. We have a few more work sessions already scheduled. Luckily there are benefits to this work taking awhile.


  1. Beautiful picture to go with a beautiful story. What a wonderful tradition!

  2. How touching, Your photo certainly has something special about it and is moving on it's own but add in the stories and you my keyboard gets wet with tears. Hope you get them all finished in time!

  3. OMG I'm so glad I clicked on your thumbnail. I'm tearing up as I read this and adore how much you are sharing with your Grandma. Makes me miss mine so much. I wish you luck in your adventure of flower making!

  4. LOVE the picture and story!!

  5. This post was so beautiful! I am glad you shared it. Heartwarming. I hope she is able to keep making her flowers for many years. I am so glad you shared this!

  6. beautiful!! i love this, and love the processing.