• Jenny Chamberlain

A Bouquet of Marigolds

Updated: Jan 9


Prelude

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This piece is dedicated to all of those who have lost someone they loved dearly, wholly and completely.


I wrote this piece back in December of 2020 as I was reflecting upon my life. I was about to turn 50 & Fabulous and felt compelled to write a series of yet to be completed work titled "Reflections: Love, Loss, Hopes & Dreams. How I Found Myself Again".


My "M.O" is about us sharing our "stories" and how we are the author of own pen, our story is not over yet, our next chapter is about to begin.


I never intended "A Bouquet of Marigolds" to be published, made for public view. Although this is something that occurred in my life almost 20 years ago, when writing this piece, I had to return to the past, something that I safely tucked away "out of sight, out of mind".


But, as I always say, we bring healing to ourselves and others by sharing our stories, which brings me here today. Back in late July, I posted on my FB page that a friend of mine was going through one of the most hardest times of her life, she lost her beloved husband, the love of her life. When she asked me to speak at his funeral, I so badly wanted to leave her with a gift, something that she could hold onto tangibly as time went on and she continued to live her life which lead me to my new blog series. "Love Is ..." a compilation of poems about the first night Lucy and her husband Felix met.


As I began to mourn for her, I realized that I had some leftover pain of my own that I still had to deal with almost two decades later after loosing someone I cared about. As I began to prepare my speech, it was then a silent voice reminded me of this piece I wrote back in December. I felt this soft knock on my door quietly telling me "Jenny, it's time to share...". I am a very private person when it comes to the "matters of my heart", that is something that I hold close to me, protecting ever so eloquently with respect and honor to those who deserve privacy from my public life.


In addition, there has been so much loss this year. 2020-2021 has not been kind to those who have had what it may feel like their hearts "plucked" away from them, my heart bleeds for my family and friends who are experiencing this loss. The first few moments, months and maybe years after can have it's ups and downs.


But, there is hope. There comes a moment, if you allow yourself to be open to it, that you are able to breath again. Smiling no longer becomes a chore, but arises from a sincere joy that lives within your heart, mind, body and soul. Many wander around the world endlessly, wondering how it feels to be "loved". For those who have experienced and loss someone they loved, we are blessed with a bittersweet gift, at least we can look back at those times and smile.


This experience wasn't the last time I ever gave a little piece of my heart to someone, nor was he the love of my life, we dated for only a short while. I have experienced love after him because his presence in my life showed me that I was capable of being unselfish in the act of "Love". I write a "little piece of my heart" because as I wrote in a previous blog, my "whole heart" will belong to the man who wins it for eternity, that experience is still yet to come...


I am in such a good place in my life right now. I have healed, I have moved on and now able to look back at my past knowing that I was blessed with his gift of loving me. If I have never had that experience, I am not quite sure what my capability would be today to have my heart so full to love people in the way that I do. My capacity to love and have compassion for others is so great that it can be overwhelming at times because I want to save the world!


This experience has contributed to the woman I am today. It is my sincere desire to help others know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and tomorrow will come with it's many joys once the dark clouds fade away, the sun does shine again in so many more ways than you know.


A Bouquet of Marigolds




Have you ever loved a man who you know you will never be able to lay eyes upon again? Not because you both moved on elsewhere apart upon this earth, but because he is no longer on this earth and his name, yes, his name remains silently upon your lips, lingering at the tip of your tongue restraining itself from being casually spoken.


You occasionally mention him, but just to a few close friends because if you do, his memory comes up alive within you, even though it’s been decades, you fear that it will take another decade to get over him once more. He is your secret, and those who know you in this present life, have never heard or seen him because he is from a lifetime ago, yet never forgotten.


Oh, but he is the one who loved you without fear or regret due to his self perceived failings. One who loved you with the boldness and confidence that only a man can possess or feel towards a woman. It is he who taught you that passion and romance can intertwine with maturity, without the drama of young love. Being a few years older, he showed you that love can be silent, spoken without words, just mere glances and fortitude when two adults love one another fervently yet calmly in the stillness of the night.


He was your first mature romance. He was accomplished, well into his career and offered intellectual conversation that men closer to your age at the time were merely learning how to navigate. Since then, you have also learned that the maturity of a man does not come with age, but the ability to put away their selfish things and to be patient, kind, thoughtful and not self seeking. You are their world and his lifeline revolves solely around you.


Will you ever speak his name again? Will you ever tell your new lover about him and your story? Or will you keep his memory in a special place in your heart locked with a key only opening it for mere moments of time when you smell something that reminds you of his scent and brings him back to you? When a bluebird flies down from the sky landing near your feet as his way of letting you know that everything will be ok, that he’s got you and you will be all right when it seems like your world is falling apart and it is only his arms you wish to rest in. You can still remember the vibrancy of his silvery voice whenever he said your name or called you “Sweetheart”.


You are grateful for the precious moments you once shared, acknowledging that if time did allow you more of his presence, you don’t know what 10, 20, 30 years down the road would have brought you. You would have eventually grown into the woman you are today versus the young woman he knew back then, who looked at him dreamy eyed, enamored by his being, a young woman who was just starting off in life with so many aspirations she wanted to attain, who fell in love with a man and he with a woman.


You slowly go into a daze thinking about the few pictures you have of him that you hold onto. “Why don’t you have more?” you ponder, then you blatantly remember “Oh ya, he hated taking pics”. You wish you would have pushed him a little harder to take more, because for you, he would have if he saw how important it was to you. You only wish that it was.


Sometimes you experience moments when a song, a movie, a soft breeze or the smell of French Bordeaux wine reminds you of him. You have become accustomed to reading labels of each wine bottle that comes across your possession, practicing the skills he taught you about his love for good wine, food and his ability to soak in your company.


It’s those days that you don’t need to close your eyes, pressing down your eyelids hard against your pupils to try and remember his face, his smile, his every being. No. It’s those days that you remember every detail of his face with your eyes wide open and smile because you can see him grinning right at you with that smirk of his.


Yes, in your vision, he still has that Alfalfa hair he hated so much, sticking up right in the center of where he parted it to the side, you thought it was so adorable and cute. Sometimes you would tease him and make your fingers into makeshift scissors pretending you were about to cut it off “Chop, Chop, Chop, kiss…”


Then, there are those days, when you really miss him. That you feel like you are roaming around the world aimlessly hoping to spot him driving down the street while jogging because the feeling still seems surreal. The days in when no matter how tight you close your eyes to get a glimpse of his silhouette etched back into your memory, you, just, can’t.


He slips away, little by little, breath by breath, stone by stone. You search for every bit of his existence and google his name in a thousand different ways to find something, just something that can give you an additional clue of what his life was like when you weren’t “his”. No matter how morbid it may sound, you read his obituary over and over again to catch a glimpse of his character because when you do, you can breathe in every bit of who he was into your nostrils and his musky fragrance once again fills the room.


Perhaps there is this secret part of you that fools your imagination into thinking that if you searched hard enough, you would find that he lives in Europe, on a yacht anxiously waiting for your return.


Those moments when you are grasping to remember, it feels like you are holding on to the back of his dark grey and black checkered shirt as he shrugs and pulls away while you frantically try to pull him back into your presence where he belongs, right beside you.


Oh, but the days that the sun shines so brightly upon your face, you can’t help but to think to yourself that he is sprinkling that little extra sunshine your way because he wants you to be happy, living your best life, that is his wish for you until infinity.


“Is he proud of me?” you wonder “Is he proud of the woman I have become?” and then the image that you were once grasping so hard to hold onto tightly in fear of his memory forever fading away comes back again. He appears once more in front of you smiling with that never ending grin of his with a bouquet of marigolds in his hand saying “I love you…”


… and then, the world seems to be at peace again, you move forward with your life, happy because if there was one thing you can name that was perfect in your lifetime was his love for you.


You can now wipe those tears away and breathe again. You can let go of the past and move forward living your best life, because that is one wish you can still grant him in honor of his memory.


Hope arises because if there was anything about him that you admired the most was the fact that what he truly wanted was for you to be happy, have hope and love again.


Damn him, he gets his way even in the afterlife, but this time, you both equally win the argument.


And thus, the story continues …...


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