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.

Fall Memorials

I started selling my fall crosses in July and have sold all 40 crosses so I decided to make more. Here is a sample of the new batch of memorial crosses.

Holidays and sitting them out….

I remember when I was a little girl and how I loved looking forward to a holiday. My younger brother and I celebrated them together in every wish, dream, and moment. It was our time then. We would excite ourselves with the idea of Easter morning chocolate bunnies and spring toys. Christmastime we spent hours thumbing through store catalogs marking the pages of everything we wanted by bending the page or using a permanent black magic marker to circle the desires that year. We would Trick or Treat on Halloween and come home to sort and group our candy in neat little piles before counting them and gorging ourselves. I would always run out of chocolate candy first as I had an enormous sweet tooth and my brother would pretend not to notice that I ate his when mine was gone.

These holidays were my childhood and were some of my best holiday moments. No one realizes that until those moments are long gone. As an adult I was given the gift of having children to celebrate these moments with and I loved every second of every holiday. Even as I celebrated these moments I knew that they would stop some day and my job would warp into the final stage of observer. My participation would be more “watching” than “doing”.

At first the role seemed strange to me but I have learned by watching my children being the “doers” in holiday celebrations just how lucky I really am. I love reliving in my mind how my younger brother and I celebrated together and the only sad part is that he is not here to share our memories together. I watch my children build their own lives and I know how lucky I am to have raised them and had those moments. I still love holidays and the family time that they bring but I have learned that it’s ok to sit them out and let them be celebrated by the here and now. I enjoy watching others live what I have learned. I hope that my children will see someday how wonderful their lives have been as I do now.

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.

Memorial Day 2021

March, April, and May are busy months for me as are the holidays. My customers are loyal and kind. All of my family are buried in small country cemeteries or Catholic cemeteries. I realize that some of the larger cooperate cemeteries have strict rules on what you can or can’t place on graves. There are cemeteries that have timelines stating when how long grave decorations can remain on a grave. Here are some pictures of my husbands family graves this Memorial holiday.

Cairns, have you seen them?

While visiting my youngest child before COVID we went to some favorite spots , one of them being Gooseberry Falls in Duluth MN. The falls are beautiful as are the trees, streams, and foliage. This time when we went to the falls we saw something we had never seen before- Cairns. What are those? Cairns are small piles of rocks. I decided to look up there meaning, if any. The word “cairn” is a pile of rocks placed on top of one another. This is a deep rooted Scottish hillside tradition that signifies respect. That would explain the word for a small pile of rocks pronounced kern which is a Scottish Gaelic word. This tradition of piling rocks some say goes back much further than that. Some archeologists believe cairns were used as landmarks in the prehistoric era. Cairns are also used to mark trails or routes.

Another use is by Buddhist to symbolize wishes for family, respect for a passing loved one. In Hawaii they are called ahu and the Native Americans call these piles of rock wa-wa-an-quas-sick ( place of many good stones ). Cairns can also be memorials. A pile of rocks placed upon a burial site. Actor Dennis Hopper is buried under a cairn in a Native American burial site in Taos, NM. I learn something new every time I travel outside my own little world, and I enjoy seeing and learning new things.

Gooseberry Falls, Duluth MN

A park, a tree, and a memorial

I have changed my mind several times as to what I want done with my body when I am gone. I have at this older age made my decision and it is my final choice. Unfortunately my past has made me think of this more than others might. I have personally planned every family members funeral. I spoke at most of them. I have learned what I don’t want. I walk for an hour each day for exercise and for my dog, he loves the walks. There is a park very close to my house and I have walked through it thousands of times. A friend pointed out the marker one day as we walked together. It has sunken a bit but it sits by a tree , a tree that was planted in honor of his passing. Of course most cities would never give permission to allow such a tree planting or a marker placed but 30 years ago they did. I’m sure others have found it over time and others will find the maker in the future. What a nice place in a park, under a big tree.

Fall FloralMemorials

They were having some mowing problems at the cemetery where two of my brothers are laid to rest. My youngest brother’s favorite color was orange so I made this cross for him while working on my Fall Crosses. The bright colors help me to locate his grave until this mowing disagreement is over.

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.

Christmas Cemetery Crosses

You can purchase a cross for your loved one(s) at

http://floralmemorials.shop

Or under the same name Floralmemorials

Etsy

Bonanza

eBay

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.

An Island Cemetery – Greenwood Cemetery

Cemetery names are often the same as the small town the cemetery is near. Often cemeteries will have religious or saint names. Some make reference to water or flowers such Riverside or Rose Hill. Greenwood and Evergreen are very popular names for cemeteries. You would be hard pressed NOT to find an Evergreen or Greenwood Cemetery in every state of the United States.

These pictures are of one such Greenwood Cemetery. The difference is this Cemetery is on Madeline Island, Wisconsin. The Island is on Lake Superior and is beautiful. The Island has a population of 300 – 1500 depending on the time of year. I spotted this cemetery ( the only one on the island ) and wanted to take a look. I might have missed it if it had not been for the iron fence entrance. I did not enter any further than the gate which was open and welcoming, it just didn’t seem right to disturb such a small peaceful place and moment.

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.

Forever 17 in my mind.

While living with my Grandmother, from the age of 19 until my marriage at 25, we would have so many discussions about everything you can imagine. We would spend hours talking about family, kids, sex, marriage, childhood, mistakes, and so much more.

Many of the comments she made during our life discussions have stayed very vivid in my mind. Some of the things she said I didn’t understand completely until I was older or trying to work through one of life’s many twist.


When I saw this beautiful statue I instantly remembered something she said. “You know your body gets older with time but your mind is still remembering the seventeen year old you once were.” I can remember thinking at the time that being seventeen was a good time in her life. As I have grown older I understand so much more of what she was saying. As you grow older your body does fail you, your happy memories of your youth come to mind so much more than they used to, but keeping that  seventeen year old mind and heart is what is so important.

My Grandmother passed away just a few months short of her 104th birthday. I believe she is now forever 17.

This post is in honor of her birthday, October 11.

Small Town Pride

A few months ago I published pictures I had taken at various family cemeteries and deliveries I made Memorial Day. There were some photos that needed to be shared in a post by themselves. I have written about this little cemetery in Sedgwick , Kansas before. I have someone laid there to rest and every year when I go to decorate the grave I always smile when I first drive in. Hillside Cemetery in Sedgwick is a small cemetery, very well cared for, shows the pride of the community, and its very peaceful with lots of trees and history. ( blog post – May 2, 2015 )

This year when I drove into the cemetery a lump formed in my throat. Every dirt path road had a string of US flags decorating the way. These were full sized flags on poles and it was one of the most moving and breathtaking sites I have ever seen at a cemetery. I’ve posted the pictures below, but I have to say, they just don’t do the moment justice.

Memorial Ribbons

I have added Floralmemorial ribbons to my shop. With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month I made my first few ribbons in a hot pink color. Each memorial ribbon is 20″ in length and comes with 2 steel anchors so you can place it on the ground securely in front of a grave marker. Currently I have made red-white-blue memorial ribbons, as well as yellow and red. Check out my memorial ribbons at:

http://Floralmemorials.shop

Holiday Crosses 2018

I placed this cross on my Grandmothers Grave this morning. I have begun to make and sell Holiday crosses for the 2018 season. You can see what is currently for sale at:

http://Floralmemorials .shop

Or on

Etsy.com – Bonanza.com -ebay.com

Under the shop name of Floralmemorials.

Respect for our Military

The final resting place of those who sacrificed so much for their country is being neglected and forgotten. Retired naval captain Ralph Parrot has made it his mission to restore the respect and dignity to the oldest military cemetery on the west coast — but he can’t do it alone.

When local resident Nestor Aliga heard about Captain Parrott’s work, he started this petition to get the Veterans Administration to repossess this forgotten place in our Navy’s history. Your signature can help.

After the U.S. Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, CA closed in 1996, responsibility for maintaining the Mare Island Cemetery slipped through the bureaucratic cracks – allegedly becoming the responsibility of the City of Vallejo.

Without a plan for ongoing maintenance from the U.S. Navy or dedicated funding from the city, the cemetery fell into a state of disrepair. Currently, only a small group of volunteers devote time to doing even the most basic upkeep.

Mare Island Cemetery is no ordinary interment park. It’s the oldest military cemetery on the west coast. It’s on the National Register of Historic places. Victims of the U.S.S. Boston tragedy are buried there, as is Francis Scott Key’s daughter and numerous sailors.

But over twenty years of neglect have left the facility in a deplorable condition. Critics point to leaning, fallen headstones. Meanwhile, other headstones and markers are being propped up with stray pieces of wood. All believe our service members deserve better.

Please sign this petition calling on Veterans Affairs secretary David Shulkin to order the repossession of the Mare Island Naval Cemetery.

Sylvia Rolle

Change.org Campaigns Team

Memorial Day 2018

I thought I would post a few pictures of crosses I have placed this year for the upcoming Memorial Day 2018 holiday. I often start early as I have 5 different cemeteries to visit.

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.

How to place your Floralmemorial

The pictures above are of a cross I placed on my brothers grave this week. We have received little rain this year and the ground was hard but I could place the cross into the ground without a rubber mallet. Also the bow was flattened in the car so I simply placed my 2 missed fingers between the bow to unflatten. If the ground is hard you can also place next to or into the grave vase if present.

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.