in honour of Florence Marigold: project #FlorenceMarigoldinBloom

May 11, 2015, Michaela Evanow, 31 Comments

Our sweet girl, Florence Marigold Evanow, went to be with her Jesus on May 9th 2015 in the late afternoon. We held her in our arms as she passed away at Canuck Place. She was surrounded by love, by family, and by the incredible support of all the staff at Canuck Place.

Florence was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 1 at 4 months old. We named her, unaware of what the future would hold.

Florence means flourishing. 

Marigold is a flower.

Our girl passed away in marigold season—springtime. 

Marigolds have been used for a wide variety of purposes throughout history. Ancient Greek and Roman cultures, as well as Indian and Middle Eastern cultures have all used marigolds for everything from treating various health ailments, dying fabrics, creating cosmetics and seasoning foods.

The Latin name for the European marigold was calendula, which is derived from the Latin word calendae ‘the first day of the month.’ The word has also been translated as ‘a little calendar or little clock.’ The name was appropriate since the flower bloomed throughout the entire calendar year and provided monastery gardens and altars with a constant supply of golden blooms. Like the sunflower, the calendula blossom follows the sun; as a result, it has earned the nickname “Sun’s Bride.”

Marigold is also a spiritual name as it’s a contraction of the phrase “Mary’s gold.” The golden flowers have been associated with the Virgin Mary for centuries.

In India, marigolds are used in celebrations, weddings and worship. It is a a sign of respect when one is adorned with a chain of marigolds. I spent many months in India. It was a life changing experience full of joy and sorrow. It changed me deeply. This was part of the reason we named her Marigold.

In Mexico, marigolds also represent the fragility of life. Dia de los Muertos, is a holiday that honours the deceased. Marigolds are planted as a symbol of remembrance and respect.

After Flo’s diagnosis, and as the years went by, I learned some other things about marigolds. And I realized the Spirit had whispered to us as we decided on names for our girl.

Marigolds represent grief and sorrow.

Marigolds are the birth flower for the month of October. I was born in October and we were married in October. It is my favourite month of the year. 


We will be planting marigolds for the rest of our lives. I will whisper her name when I see these blossoms. I will remember her when I bury my nose into the pungent, sweet petals. Her room was full of marigolds as she passed away and in the hours after. I tucked them behind her ears and into her hands. She left us, with marigold blossoms in her hands.

Many of you have already planted marigolds in her honour, all over the world. I never want to forget that! So we are starting a hashtag, to keep track of all these blooms.

If you plant marigolds, or add them to a planter, or see their scattered petals on the street, or decide to plant them at your home or office or neighbourhood garden, snap a photo and post it to Instagram or Facebook using this tag below:

#FlorenceMarigoldinBloom

This works particularly well on Instagram. I know I’ll be checking every day. It gives me so much comfort and joy. You can follow along, whether you use Instagram or not. But if you do, you can find me @michaelaevanow


When something is in bloom, it is flourishing and in a state of great beauty. Bloom on little flower girl. Flourish in your heavenly home.

A garden of marigolds …. orange, yellow and rust,
Bright, soft and rich, touched with golden dust.
Quiet and regal, sun kissed and fair,
Basil-citrus fragrance that mellows the moist air.
A thousand smiling marigolds, a thousand smiling suns,
Sweet nectar, ambrosia, for natures gentle ones.

Woven into garlands, yellow with tips of red,
Woven into memories with many a words unsaid.

Orange, yellow, rust … to love, to pray, to mourn,
Golden, sun kissed, blessed … marigolds that life adorns.

-A poem by Nishu Mathur

flomarigold

This is my hope for you all as you dig down deep into the soil and see these vibrant flowers grow:

May love be the rich soil where their lives take root. May it be the bedrock where their lives are founded so that together with all of Your people they will have the power to understand that the love of the Anointed is infinitely long, wide, high, and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God, may Your fullness flood through their entire beings.

Ephesians 3:17-19 (VOICE)

31 Comments

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  • Reply Sabine June 1, 2015 at 12:56 PM

    Dear Michaela,

    I just want to let you know that, my angel also left us on May 9th 2015. My Isabella also had SMA type 1, and was only 15 months old.
    I think our angels run and play together.

    Sabine

    • Reply Michaela Evanow June 7, 2015 at 10:16 AM

      Thank you for sharing with me. I’m so sad our girls left this earth the same day, from the same disease. But as you say, they are running together now. xo

  • Reply Karen June 1, 2015 at 10:37 AM

    I came upon your blog while searching for the midwives tonic recipe and read your whole birthing story and then learned about your baby’s passing. I am so sorry and heartbroken for you. My daughter and I will be planting a marigold or a few in her honour and we’ll Instagram it for you. I’m sure that she’ll insist that we plant next to her butterfly bush :). From one west coaster mom to another, may this beautiful spring we’re having be eternal in your heart.

    “Au milieu de l’hiver, j’ai découvert en moi un invincible été.” Albert Camus

  • Reply Emily May 23, 2015 at 5:55 AM

    I came across your story last night and stayed up late reading. I am so sorry for your loss. I looked through your pictures and wow…what a beautiful girl!

    I couldn’t get over the picture of your hug with her. The way her eyes looked at you! You were in my thoughts and prayers this morning.

  • Reply Nishu Mathur May 22, 2015 at 10:18 PM

    I am so sorry to know of your daughter’s passing away. My friend saw this post and my poem and mentioned it to me. Take care, may she rest in peace. My warmest wishes.

  • Reply Heather May 22, 2015 at 5:20 AM

    So very sorry for the loss of your dear daughter. Praying for your family.

  • Reply Lori Lasee May 19, 2015 at 5:43 AM

    Will definitely be thinking of you and looking for marigolds.

  • Reply Peter Taylor May 17, 2015 at 10:41 AM

    And for what, except for you, do I feel love?
    Do I press the extremest book of the wisest man
    Close to me, hidden in me day and night?
    In the uncertain light of single, certain truth,
    Equal in living changingness to the light
    In which I meet you, in which we sit at rest,
    For a moment in the central of our being,
    The vivid transparence that you bring is peace.

    Wallace Stevens, “Notes Towards a Supreme Fiction”

  • Reply Tess May 15, 2015 at 12:49 PM

    I know no words can comfort or take pain away but i will pray for you and your family have peace. Will be planting marigolds tomorrow.

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  • Reply Megan May 13, 2015 at 12:48 PM

    Thank you for letting us into your lives, into the corners of your hearts, as you walk this journey. Thoughts of you and your family have filled my mind and my prayers. And tears have covered my keyboards.
    Without a word, that sweet Marigold changed my view on life. She impacted so many in her time here- that was much too short. I will forever think of her when I see those gorgeous flowers. She lives on.

  • Reply Meagan May 13, 2015 at 9:28 AM

    A beautiful tribute to your sweet little girl Florence Marigold. You are in my thoughts and prayers, Michaela. May she dance and sing with Angels this sunny day and wear a crown of marigolds in heaven.

  • Reply Anne-Marie May 13, 2015 at 8:10 AM

    So few words, but so much love for you and yours Michaela. Have been praying so much. Will post a flower soon. My heart is cracked with the sadness and beauty of you and Flo.

  • Reply Mel May 13, 2015 at 7:32 AM

    I love those chunky fingers!!

    She sure loved well didn’t she Michaela.

  • Reply Betsy May 12, 2015 at 9:13 AM

    I’m sure you know this already, but marigolds also protect vegetable gardens and keep them healthy and strong. You protected your Florence Marigold, and now she is in Heaven protecting you and your family. There are beautiful pictures of Marigold Farm on this website, and you can see the beautiful borders of marigolds protecting the other plants:

    http://www.marigoldfarmandgardens.com

  • Reply Megan May 12, 2015 at 7:44 AM

    Marigold

    Time foretells the coming rebirth
    From the damp sleepy earth
    All through long wintry hours
    Breaks forth the glory of flowers

    The foxglove with its noble bells
    Purple which adorns the dells
    Buttercups in meadows green
    The wind shifts the moving scene

    And shakes my own wild flowers
    In the short life of summer hours;
    The windflower perished long ago
    The wild rose too in summers glow

    But the aster still blooms in the wood
    And by a brook the marigold stood
    Golden petals like rays of light
    Gathering tears of sheer delight

    The marigold like the glorious sun
    When he begin his course to run
    She displays elegance and grace
    When he sets she turns her face

    You have been adored long and well
    Charmed me with your secret spell
    The voice of promise come and part
    Speaks of hope to faint of heart

    In the living garment of the creator
    Mary gold flowers stars of nature
    I see the life in your every leaf
    Flowers love’s language is belief

    Beryl McMullen

  • Reply vanessa May 12, 2015 at 7:17 AM

    We will plant marigolds today….. in honour of beautiful florence. To think of her dancing and singing in a field of marigolds holding Jesus’ hand. Breathtaking!!!

  • Reply Lisa May 12, 2015 at 7:01 AM

    Michaela, you are so brave and gracious providing an opportunity and place for other’s grief. We will plant marigolds in honour of Flo, but equally to honour the nation of Nepal (where they are also used proloficly in celebration, worship and decoration) which is a place dear to our hearts. Thank you of for this opportunity. I will be praying for and with you. Lisa

  • Reply Heather Kuhnd May 12, 2015 at 5:45 AM

    Tears…Thankyou for letting us be a part.

  • Reply Donna-Jean Brown May 12, 2015 at 5:03 AM

    Aww… such love, such courage, such pain and grief. I’m very sorry for all of your suffering, Michaela. In your tender care for sweet Florence, you and your husband were faithful to the end.

  • Reply Saskia May 12, 2015 at 12:30 AM

    When I was a little girl marigolds were my favourite flower, and as soon as I read your girl’s name, I pictured them in all their beauty and colour and thought she was well named. Thank you Michaela for letting so many of us follow your journey and love your girl over Instagram and through your words.

    This prayer was given to me in the midst of hardship, on a piece of bright (marigold?) orange paper, and I will pass it on to you:
    “May peace reign in your weary heart;
    May you be held in your vulnerability and comforted more deeply than you understand;
    May you know you are loved, seen, and provided for.”

    So many are loving you.

  • Reply Daniela May 11, 2015 at 11:21 PM

    Florence Marigold, I am doing my part to spread this declaration. I promise this summer my garden will glow in shade of yellow, orange and Amber. Shine on sweet Marigold.

  • Reply Jan Burns May 11, 2015 at 9:09 PM

    Jay, Michaela and Teddy, the tears and prayers have flowed often since hearing of Flo’s diagnosis…I’m so grateful to have met Flo and Teddy when visiting grandma and grandpa Evanow while Flo’s swing was being built.
    Your words are poetic and strong, encouraging, even in your struggles. Thank you for sharing yourselves and your beautiful daughter’s life….marigolds will rarely go unnoticed, and prayers will be raised the world over.
    May you rest in the cover of Jesus wings as you grieve. You are loved.

  • Reply Jenn May 11, 2015 at 8:17 PM

    I am struggling to type coherent words as more tears fight to block my already blurred, wet vision.

    Michaela…thank you.
    Jason and Teddy…thank you.
    Sweet precious Florence Marigold Evanow…thank you.

    Your lives are one of startling courage. You have walked out this journey so so well. Thank you for striking us with your beauty, grace and bravery. We are forever changed because of your presence.

    May you hear the songs of an litany of angels canopy the heavens above you
    May you feel the arms of a million witnesses carrying you through your days.
    And may you intimately know the heart of heaven for you… always for you… as you sit/stand/weep/pray/remember/laugh/dream and yes… let go…

    Gone,
    …but never forgotten…

    For all the days and hours and minutes given to us to enjoy our breaths here on earth, thank You.
    For loving with all our hearts and then surrendering it all into the strong hands of Love Himself, thank You.

    From You, through You, to You are all things, Creator.
    Every breath, every day, every life.
    …Thank You.

  • Reply Sarah Condon May 11, 2015 at 7:49 PM

    Love this. Was thinking about planting these for your sweet girl. Now I know I must.

  • Reply Gina May 11, 2015 at 7:48 PM

    Was looking for something to plant next to my front door. Now I know! Will think of her every time I come home. Thank you for sharing Florence with us. She has taught me how to REALLY live. To slow down and look for happiness everywhere. To cherish each moment. I am forever grateful.

  • Reply Sarah May 11, 2015 at 7:46 PM

    Tears streaming for you and your family. Bless you for sharing your story and for sharing her life with us.

  • Reply Richelle May 11, 2015 at 7:44 PM

    I bought seeds for Catherine, Kim and I earlier today as a way to process our grief and remember. At that time I had no idea of this posting but will gladly share photos with you as they bloom!

  • Reply Tamara May 11, 2015 at 7:30 PM

    Looking forward to seeing marigolds all over. Praying for you and your family daily. God works in such incredible ways… the details in her name.

  • Reply Kali May 11, 2015 at 7:28 PM

    I have self-seeding calendula popping up all over my garden right now- it always makes me happy to see them take root in new places each year. Can’t wait to plant more varieties of vibrant marigold all around our space & will remember you all, and sweet Flo’s sparkling eyes & smile always…

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