In Lieu of Flowers

I was looking for one of my favourite poems on grief by John O’Donohue and came across this beautiful blog
and this reflection called In Lieu of Flowers by Shawna Lemay
A few years ago I read a friend’s father’s obituary on Facebook. His father had requested in lieu of flowers, please take a friend or loved one out for lunch.
Although I love flowers very much, I won’t see them when I’m gone. So in lieu of flowers:
  • Buy a book of poetry written by someone still alive, sit outside with a cup of tea, a glass of wine, and read it out loud, by yourself or to someone, or silently.
  • Spend some time with a single flower. A rose maybe. Smell it, touch the petals. Really look at it.
  • Drink a nice bottle of wine with someone you love. Or, Champagne. And think of what John Maynard Keynes said, “My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne.” Or what Dom Perignon said when he first tasted the stuff: “Come quickly! I am tasting stars!”
  • Take out a paint set and lay down some colours.
  • Watch birds. Common sparrows are fine. Pigeons, too. Geese are nice. Robins.
  • In lieu of flowers, walk in the trees and watch the light fall into it. Eat an apple, a really nice big one. I hope it’s crisp.
  • Have a long soak in the bathtub with candles, maybe some rose petals.
  • Sit on the front stoop and watch the clouds. Have a dish of strawberry ice cream in my name.
  • If it’s winter, have a cup of hot chocolate outside for me. If it’s summer, a big glass of ice water.
  • If it’s autumn, collect some leaves and press them in a book you love. I’d like that.
  • Sit and look out a window and write down what you see. Write some other things down.
In lieu of flowers, I would wish for you to flower. I would wish for you to blossom, to open, to be beautiful.