I Never Ask , Who?

I have the pleasure of creating memorial crosses that are unique just like the people who buy them for their loved ones.

Sometimes customers will tell me who they are for, but most of the time I never know, and I never ask. If they wanted to talk about their grief they might consider someone else to talk to than a woman who has a small Etsy shop.

When someone does tell me about the loved one they lost, I consider that to be a great honor that they share with me.

The days in between the holidays…

If you have lost of loved one whether it be years ago or as recent as this past year then you know how difficult the holidays are. You might even have some well meaning person to remind you of how hard holidays are without a loved one , as if you didn’t understand.

I lost many loved ones on special days or holidays, New Years Eve-brother, Christmastime- brother, stepfather- my wedding anniversary, 4th of July- mother, my birthday- brother. Although this is an unusual amount of loved ones to lose by the age of 40 , it is also an odd number of celebrations to loose loved ones on. I decided I needed to embrace these holidays which is how my business FloralMemorials came about. My husband was a contractor and often had wooden stakes and the idea came to me to paint and decorate them so I could have something to decorate the graves for any holiday or celebration. This need to celebrate has been an amazing experience for me and one that I am most grateful for.

Those deaths have been 20-30 years ago and I have found that those days in between holidays have brought me the most comfort, understanding, clarity, and peace. Every single day a thought drifts through my mind or I drive by a part of town that sparks my memory, but always with a smile and no longer with a tear or lump in my throat. Those days in between are just as important if not more than the few holidays we share. Own those days they can’t be given back to you and they are amazing.

You can feel it……

I am trying to get back out and enjoy life like I did before COVID. After a year off from most social interaction I was excited to go and do things again, even simple errands were more attractive now. There’s a change that has happened and you can feel it in the air.

I’m talking about hostility. I have encountered so many people who are so upset about the smallest of things, whether it be road rage, or some slight they think another has given them, to hateful attitudes towards service workers. Now I realize these people have been with us all along, but this is different. This isn’t just a once a year encounter, this is a daily event. Did we stay inside so long that we have completely forgotten how to treat our fellow man? Have we suffered such enormous set backs from COVID that we are just angry all of the time?

I’m not sure what the answer is but it’s definitely different and you can feel it in the air around you.

National Funeral Director and Mortician Recognition Day

I know that my title is not an attention grabber and that’s ok. I want to personally recognize this group of people that have made my life easier. This particular group, until you need them and chances are you will need them one day, are there for people at their saddest and most vulnerable moment. The first encounter I had with a funeral director was when I was 19. My oldest brother died in an accident and the family was gathered at the funeral home trying to make arrangements. My parents couldn’t put aside their hurt and anger long enough to bury my brother so they turned and said “ask Missy what she wants”. I was stunned, I wasn’t a parent. I wasn’t even an adult , really. This poor funeral director pulled me aside and walked me through the decisions with such kindness and understanding I couldn’t have made it through that day , or the funeral to come. I don’t remember his face at all just his ability to understand my humiliation, my pain, and my lack of knowledge. He saved that day from being one that could have left me hardened and pissed off.

I have had too many encounters with other funeral homes and the employees that have helped me and I have had people with the same kindness and concern at each one. We may not like talking about what a service these individuals provide , or maybe we tell ourselves that we wouldn’t want to have one as a friend, but I tell you it would make your life better if you did. In recognition of those who provide this service, I say THANK YOU!

Missy

Choices in Death

I know it may seem odd since my business is cemetery decorations but I like the idea of green burial. It’s more than just the ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in a word-simple. I think it’s important to have one final decision in life and that is how your death or life will be celebrated. Now this is not a simple choice if you have a child that has proceeded you in death, a husband, a sibling, a partner. I had to make choices for my family members without knowing exactly what they wanted. I tried to make decisions that were appropriate, respectful, and loving but those were choices I made for them, and it was a long time before I forgave myself for something I had no control over. My parents, and siblings have been gone for over 25 years and the pain doesn’t flood me as it once did. The deaths just came suddenly but not surprisingly. I lost my mother, younger brother, and father all within 9 months. I had already buried my stepfather and my oldest brother, and my middle brother would follow in just a few years. I was afraid, afraid to talk to them about death even though most of them were inevitable, but it was so much simpler to just put it away in the back of my mind. What I wasn’t prepared for is I would be the only decision maker, the only one left to make those choices.

My brothers birthday, November 22, 1962

I started making my crosses over 20 years ago. I lost most of my childhood family and I needed to process my grief. These crosses came to me one night while I was lying in bed. It wasn’t until ten years later that my daughters would convince me that others would also like my crosses. And the rest as they say is history, no it’s my life.

My youngest brother was born on Thanksgiving Day in 1962. My mother would make him a pumpkin pie every year for his birthday. She said it was his favorite but I think it was her way of paying him back for the Thanksgiving she missed in 1962. My brother would celebrate his first birthday with pumpkin pie of course but it was not a happy celebration as that was the day that President Kennedy was shot and died of his injuries.

I had to call the caretaker and ask that his stone and that of my other brother be lifted. Twenty years of Kansas weather can bury a headstone.

My brother would die on New Years Eve of 1999, yet another holiday that would not be celebrated for years following his death. I always like to make something special for his grave celebrating his life, his birthday. His favorite color was orange and so it is very easy to decorate his grave for Fall. This year I decided to break from this tradition and decorate his grave with a bright green and yellow wreath I made. The wreath is thick enough and just heavy enough to be held by his vase alone. Very cheerful, he was a very cheerful kid.

Death and COVID 2020

The weather has been warmer and my walks have been longer. I live in a neighborhood that has parks, sidewalks, and friendly neighbors. I ran into a neighbor that I heard had lost his wife in 2020 , but I had not had the chance to tell him personally how sorry I was. His booming voice called me over and I told him how sorry I was to hear of his wife’s passing. He and his wife would walk in good weather even after hip and knee replacements. His voice started to break as he talked about her. My heart broke as I listened. He explained that the “virus took her”. I finished my walk and began to think about everything he had said. This couple was not young but they took good care of each other. They got their flu shots, pneumonia shots, and went to the doctor annually. I thought even beyond his loss and about the total loss of life to COVID. To date 500,000.00 people have died of COVID in the United States. If you consider for one moment that each life lost affects 10 other people spiritually, emotionally, and financially then that total comes to 5 Million. Five million + souls walking around in 2020 trying to understand what happened. Be kind people, it was a very hard year.

No such thing as too late to remember

wwmt.com/news/local/civil-war-veterans-receive-headstones-after-more-than-a-century-since-burial

The link above is a story that most wont take the time to read but I’m not sure that is if any importance to the people who made sure that these veterans were remembered.

Loss in all that is loved

Last week my pup was up in the middle of the night and I could hear him coughing and choking. I went into the next room and and he was breathing rapidly and hard. He laid on the floor on his side. I laid next to him on the floor and the more I listened the more upset I became.

Now this is the first animal I have ever had in my life. We had a few cats wondering around as the kids grew but they were feral cats and belonged to themselves. After the kids were gone I thought about getting a small dog, I thought about it more and more and looked occasionally at the local adoption agencies around my city. I even went so far as to fill out an adoption form that was 12 pages long for a pug but didn’t get the adoption because of a question about how much I was willing to spend to save the dog if need be. Apparently my limited knowledge of vet costs was not acceptable.

I had about decided it wasn’t meant to be when my oldest daughter face timed me to tell me she had found my dog. I fell in love with him the first time I saw him. My daughter lives in another state so I filled out the paperwork and went to pick up my new love 2 weeks later. The rest is our history, the snuggles, learning each other’s likes and dislikes, walks, friends of both species, and love, lots and lots of love.

So as I lay on the floor watching my friend of three years struggling to breath. I thought he wasn’t going to make it until morning and I was overwhelmed with heartbreak and grief. I took him to the vet the next day and he was fine after some medicine and TLC.

I never understood before when people would talk about the loss of a pet, after all they aren’t people. How naive I had been all those years about the love between a pet and it’s person.

Roadside Memorials

Often customers will reach out to me and ask if anyone uses my memorial crosses as roadside memorials. I explain that unless a customer shares with me I don’t know what they intend to do with the crosses they purchase. Some of my customers have used my crosses for roadside memorials.

Roadside memorials have become quite controversial in the last few years and some cities have gone so far as pass laws forbidding the placement of roadside memorials. City and county governments have complained about the cost of disposing forgotten roadside memorials.

Societies and there rituals change with time and dealing with death is no different. Memorials whether they be a decal on a vehicle, a brick with a name, a tree planted in memory of a loved one, and yes, a roadside cross that marks the place where a loved one died. These are all are new rituals in society for dealing with grief and loss.

Cremation has become more affordable and less looked down upon than 50 years ago. I often wonder if these new ritual memorials have come about due to the loss of being able to place flowers at a cemetery as a memorial. The human need to remember and hope that others remember the loss of life.

Holiday Healing

My family members, as it happened, passed on or near holidays, Christmas time, Fourth of July, my wedding anniversary, New Years Eve, my birthday. It’s not like they planned their deaths to occur on days that would be a constant reminder of their deaths that’s just the way my road in life lead.

I had children that I was raising so I kept my thoughts about this “holiday passing” to myself and refused to let the holidays be anything but happy for my family. It was hard, but not painful to the point I couldn’t function, that would come later.

It’s funny how we can fill our lives and our minds to distract us from our troubles. I told myself that I was a strong person and that I carried on for my kids and their happiness, after all you can’t walk this earth wounded very minute of every day, right?

This is what I learned the hard way…..

Distractions are just that, they keep you busy but you don’t heal. I woke up one morning and my kids were grown and thriving in the world and I looked around for someone I knew and that’s when the grief and pain of losing everyone came down on me like a wave of nausea. It was Christmas time and I fumbled through crying to myself everyday and not understanding why. Grieving, although it might make others uncomfortable, is necessary part of our human function. When we grieve we are aware of our loss and the changes it will make in our lives. When we choose to be the strong soldier our grief will find its way out of our bodies sometime in some form whether we want it to or not.

If you are grieving then carry on and don’t worry so much about others feeling uncomfortable around you, you can always apologize later if you want. Distractions are just that – distractions – not because you are super human or emotionally untouchable it just means you are choosing not to deal with something at that particular moment.

Grief will come, it’s just part of who we are as humans.

A small patch and a small remembrance

I must start by telling you that I am so grateful for my following of customers. Just the thought of someone understanding what I do and why while meeting their needs is the best feeling in the world.

One of my customers wrote me a message some time ago and I have not forgotten his words since.

You might like to hear that I took the orange cross to the plot of ground that was once the house where my mother was born, in East Baltimore, 101 years ago, on her birthday this past August. It was a fine and fitting memorial to her and my aunts and grand parents, in Orioles territory. Doubtless many noticed and admired it on that green space walk way yet no one bothered it during the entire week that I was there.

I’m one of those people that notice my surroundings possibly more than others but I have always enjoyed the strange and unique world we live in.. Have you ever seen something outside and wondered why it was there? Maybe it was just one shoe in the middle of the road, or a ribbon tied around a pole, a hat in a tree, or a bunch of balloons floating by?

We may not always know the reason something is were it is but by just taking note we have become one piece of someone’s small patch in time, part of a small remembrance.

I decided to become part of his story and created this cross for him as a gift of gratitude.

Patriotic Memorial Ribbons and Crosses

I have used holiday ribbons and colors that would be great for your loved ones Grave from Veterans Day through the Christmas season. Check out my other crosses in Etsy – Bonanza – eBay.

A mother’s love is forever

If you are a mother then you are part of a very special group of people. Only mother’s carry their children inside their body for nine months before giving birth. It’s a special wonder to be part of that group. Being a mother is a job I took very seriously. To teach and shape the minds of little humans is a huge responsibility.

There’s another group of mothers that no mother wants to be a part of. The group I refer to is mothers who have lost a child. When I was raising my children I knew women who had lost their infants, toddlers, or teenagers. Our hearts would break to hear about the death of a child we knew. Deep down we would not admit it but we feared the thought of being a member of that group. Some mothers would avoid another mother after her loss as if her grief would rub off.

I saw this happen to my own mother when my oldest brother died at age 24. I was only 19 and not yet a mother myself. I didn’t understand her grief until I became a mom myself and discovered that love. I do remember others avoiding her. I guess they just weren’t sure what to say or do. I do remember people telling her things that I’m sure they thought were helpful but they couldn’t possibly understand her pain. These mothers don’t need you to understand their pain but they need to know you remember their child. My mother said that everyone not wanting to talk about my brother hurt more than the people who just avoided her as if her loss would “rub off on them”.

I have been amazed by the women I have known that have suffered the loss of a child. These women are fierce and their love is forever. Their child is no longer on this earth but their love is far beyond what we can see or understand in this life.

I met one of these amazing fierce loving moms recently – Maria’s mom.

Maria’s mom will celebrate every holiday, every family triumph , every family birthday with Maria.

Maria lives forever in her mind and her heart.

Their love is forever.

Happy Mothers Day Tiffany!

Celebration of Life

When I moved into my apartment a few years ago I picked my childhood neighborhood. Maybe I was being nostalgic or maybe I just felt a comfort come over me when I first saw the duplex apartment. The House was old , like all the others, it had the original woodwork, leaded windows, and hardwood floors. As weeks went by I worked up the nerve to knock on a neighbors door. Now this neighbor was a lifelong friend of my moms but my mom died over 15 years ago and I wasn’t sure if she still lived in the home or if she was still alive. I knock nervously on her door it flew open and a smiling woman hugged me and said, “Missy!”. Not only did she recognize me but was happy to see me.

That started a friendship that would grow over the next 3 years. She ask me to come back after that first reunion and it became a daily ritual. At first we would just catch up on each other’s lives. Then it became stories about my family that I had never heard. She was an amazing story teller. She was also a great listener and I needed one. She always had a smile on her face and never complained. She never judged anything I said or did. I would walk her dog with mine and sometimes we would share a quick meal together at her house. I would ask her if she needed anything and sometimes she did. Somewhere in the very back of my head I knew that this would not last forever but I didn’t care. Just having her friendship and love was all that mattered. I knew how old she was but she didn’t seem old to me. She was always wanting to learn something new and her mind was so open that age was not present in our friendship.

my friend died a few weeks ago and the pain in my heart is the lost friendship. Her children held a celebration of her life and it was just as special and unique as she was. I could have not taken the time to reunite and create this friendship but the pain I’m feeling now is worth the love I received from her. She touched my life and I have grown.

What Not to Say at a Funeral

I saw this post on Pinterest and it caught my eye immediately. I thought what a great idea. I’m not saying I would post this sign at a funeral but I do like the idea of talking about what NOT to say. If you are attending a funeral for someone you loved, cared deeply for, or respected, then this set of guidelines is a very good start.

Hugs– now not everyone is a hugger. I am, but I agree big squeezes are uncomfortable on many levels.

Bigger Plans and Better Place I agree it’s better to not assume that you understand the grieving families belief in bigger plans, and better places. Please, never assume that everyone shares your beliefs in the ever after because they don’t.

At Least– any sentence that starts with these words is not comforting to those grieving. Some examples I’ve heard:

At least he didn’t suffer

At least he didn’t know it was going to go that way

At least you have other children

At least your young, you can remarry

At least he made sure you were taken care of

I could go on and on with the “at least”

The fact is, any sentence that begins with those two words is not helpful. It sounds like some sort of consolation prize.

Then what does one say to a grieving family member at a funeral?

If you aren’t comfortable with hugging try these words;

I’m so sorry for your loss

I’m here if you need me

I’m going to miss ———–

A fond memory is great ……….but not in a family reception line.

Laughter is great too …………but more appropriate at a reception following a service.

Reaching for their hand and giving a warm smile to let them know you have been thinking of them is always welcome.

The most important thing to remember is you should be there to comfort them not make the day uncomfortable.

My Floralmemorial Album

I had wanted to post something like this earlier but I simply put it off over and over. With Memorial Day a few months away I thought I should post the video BEFORE I was ready to start a new one for this year.

Missy

Floralmemorials.shop

Shattered

I constantly see on FB – Instagram -Twitter post about be kind to everyone because you don’t know their story. In other words you don’t know how they have suffered, or are suffering now in their lives. What pain they have had to endure. What horrors they have seen. When I see these post I think to myself that in a perfect world we would all be kind and we would always think about others first. Unfortunately, pain and suffering are a human conditions which at some point touches all of us in some way.

The reason I even mention human suffering is because I was watching the Investigate channel on TV and they have a new show called Shattered and it’s a little different than a lot of the shows on that channel. Now watching this channel in large doses (in my opinion) can be damaging to your psychological and spiritual well being. This show drew me in.

Shattered , like all of the other shows on that channel, deal with one horrific crime. What makes this one different is it tells a story of what happened through the eyes of three different people. Which brings me back to the beginning of this post. We don’t know everyone’s story and even when we do know their story , or we are a part of their story, we can suffer from tunnel vision. We see what we want to see, another human condition. We can’t possibly know or even care about everyone’s story. What we can do is listen when ask, smile when needed, and take deep deep breaths when your just not sure what their story is.

I believe that the majority of humans are good not bad.

The majority of the good are going to have bad days, I do.

A Simple Lifestyle Continued……

Once I realized that what I wanted was not the "norm" for people my age, and that I really no longer cared what anybody thought, I found my perfect little place to rent. Yes, I said rent. I had owned homes as I noted in the first part of this story and that was what I needed then but not really what I needed now. My children have grown and they all have homes which I enjoy going to. It was time to let go.


I let go of the control of family gatherings. I enjoy having them at my children's home. It nice to watch them grow as families and start their own traditions. I let go of stuff. How many of one item does any human being need? The holiday decorations were the first to go. I saved only the items that had meaning to me and gave the rest to the kids to sort before donation.
All the the childhood memories I kept in boxes I gave to each of my kids to sort through on their own. My job as the memory keeper was finished. I was never one to hold on to a lot of clothing but it needed some trimming too. The next items to evaluate were " family heirlooms". I have a few things that are special to me but the ones that weren't I gave an option to my kids and if they didn't want them they were donated. I use my mother's China EVERYDAY instead of waiting for 3 times a year. The kitchen was last and easiest for me. One of everything with the exception of baking pans and casserole dishes. I also use the silverware given to me by my mother EVERYDAY. I set up my workroom in the loft of my apt and I only have one bedroom.

What? Is she crazy? Doesn't she want to pass down things generation to generation? Why is my answer. Unless you are leaving land ( which their not making any more of ) I don't see any reason. It's just STUFF. I lost all my family- mother, father, brothers by the time I was 45. People are important, stuff is just stuff. People who have a enormous amounts of it seem to be doing one or more of the following:

A) always looking for it
B) worried about others taking it
C) cleaning it
D) wanting more

You get the idea. Oh and one more thing- I hate to break it to you but your kids don't want your stuff. It may be painful to accept but if your heirlooms have meaning to you then enjoy them everyday. Talk to your kids about your stuff. If they like something then why not give it to them now instead of waiting until your death? When people are grieving is not the best time for them to divide items among them. Feelings are raw and emotions are high and you expect your children to sit down and rationally sort through everyone of your items?
I think we can all remember a family we know that this did not work for following the death of a parent, uncle, grandparent, etc.

I found it freeing. Freeing of my time, worry, emotion. I found it to be a very peaceful to purge. Just a thought………

Coupon code

You can save $2 off your entire purchase at Floralmemorials on Etsy.com or Floralmemorials on Bonanza.com. 

Coupon can be used over and over again until 12-31-17.

Christmas in July?

For the month of July ONLY I have lowered the price of my Christmas memorial crosses to $18.00 each and that’s with FREE SHIPPING!

Check out Floralmemorials on Etsy.com OR Bonanza.com

And you can always buy from my website at http://www.floralmemorials.shop

After this month you will not see Christmas crosses until the fall.

Holidays and 💔Healing 🎅🏼🎂🎃☘️🎄⛄️🥂🍾🎉🎊💌🎁

Now that the New Year is here we can all reflect on the year past. For some of us that year was riddled with the pain of losing someone in our lives that we loved. That loss created an enourmous hole in the year that can’t be repaired. The first year after a loss every holiday is a painful reminder of that loss.

My personal experience is just one example of holidays and grief. My oldest brother died a few weeks before Christmas of 1980, my middle brother died on my birthday in 2004, my youngest brother on New Years Eve of 1999, and my stepfather on my wedding anniversary of 1994. There have been other losses ( mother, grandmother, father ) which had nothing to do with any particular holiday but there wasn’t a “holiday reminder” of their date of death. In other words the date they died would go by each year and I would forget the actual date of over time. When you lose someone you love on a holiday or date of celebration it changes that holiday or celebration date forever.


At first I actually thought the holiday date was about me and what I had lost. I now see that that was such a ridiculous, self centered way of thinking. I made of choice of celebrating their lives on the holiday or celebration date they died. I couldn’t change what had happened, and I couldn’t change the date of my birthday, Christmas, New Years, or my anniversary but I could change how I celebrated their memory on those days. I could be grateful for every holiday spent with them and I could be grateful for the opportunity to keep them alive in my heart on those days, and grateful for my own life.
I couldn’t change dates but I could make a choice as to how I honored my love and memory of their lives. Maybe that is why although I have never been a huge fan of New Years Eve but a loyal fan of a New Year. A new year to begin again with memories of their lives not their deaths. A grateful heart for having them as part of my life story.

Humor in life and death?


Everyone has beliefs about death and the life ever after. I believe that a death should be a celebration of one’s life. My “middle brother” died a horrible death from alcoholism, cirosis of the liver, and throat cancer. I made sure his funeral was to celebrate the 45 years he was here on this earth as a son, brother, and yes to some, a drinking buddy.

His life was important and his presence on this earth touched others in many ways, some good, some bad. I celebrated every year of his life with 45 white balloons launched by everyone at his gravesite service to symbolize the years he lived. I spoke and told a few funny stories because humor can relieve the stress that grief creates. 

There are always funerals that no humor can be found, a death of a young person, child, or infant. That is pain that can only be relieved in tears. When my oldest brother passed in a freak accident at the age of 24 there were no funny stories as it was Christmas time and shock was the only emotion we could manage. 

My youngest brother drank himself to death at 37 years old and again I told some stories at his gravesite, some funny, some stupid, some that included mourners in attendance. 

I don’t find death funny in any form but life sure is. I am all too aware that I am but a human life in a story created by my time on this earth. I want my life to have meaning but above all else I want some humor at my death. Maybe a funny story or two ( nothing too embarrassing I hope ) and a celebration of my life, yes that sounds good to me.