Observing the death anniversary of one of the loves of your life is difficult to navigate, make sense of and find your rhythm in. I know for me, it’s important to have many rituals in place. Orchestrated mourning, I suppose. I find it really healthy, helpful and healing. I will carry these rituals with me for my entire life, because she is always my girl. Some days I feel awe and shock, that she once breathed this same air, saw the same trees and heard the same birds. When I see her face printed on photo paper, I’m hit with the realization that she was here and is no longer. There’s a simple forgetting that happens in between these moments. I know her so well. I carried her for nine months and three years. We both did, my husband and I. We carried her for her entire life. And because of that, we were incredibly close to her, flesh against flesh, hearts beating side by side.
We needed to feel physically close to her on her anniversary. So we went to the place where we last held her and took our shoes off and put our hands into the earth.
I really didn’t want the day to go by with my head under the covers. I wanted to stay tethered. Mother’s Day, the day before Florence’s anniversary, was a hard day.
There was a lot of love and support in the online community, and we felt cared for. Someone sent us a gift certificate for a meal service. Another sent flowers. And, the day after, someone else painted on the street: Florence Marigold in Bloom.
The day itself did feel heavy. I felt like it was the middle of summer. The heat was a little oppressive and it seemed to weigh me down even more. I was feeling all sorts of things. Nervous, on edge, serene and sad. It’s unfair to observe the death anniversary of your first born child. Nothing feels right.
We had a photographer friend come with us to Canuck Place, where we spent the majority of the day. We planted marigolds in the hot soil. We planted memories.
Florence had many exciting moments at Canuck Place, truly living and experiencing things she wouldn’t have been able to elsewhere. And she also spent her last days there, truly living out the last of her glorious moments on earth. She passed away very peacefully at 4:27PM, a sunny Saturday on May 9th 2015.
Katie Cross Photography took these beautiful photos that we will always cherish. She is also a fellow bereaved mama, so we knew she would know what to do.
We love you so much, sweet Florence Marigold.
Thank you so much, Katie.
Photographer: Katie Cross Photography, Vancouver BC.