Flowers can mean a lot and elicit many feelings. I bring this up because of course, Valentine’s Day just passed, and there are flowers everywhere. Flowers celebrating true love, new love, passion, friendship, and maybe even just to keep up with the Jones’s.
Sometimes though, flowers mean something different. Begging forgiveness. Offering condolence. An attempt to brighten a bleak situation. What is it about flowers that seem so appropriate for some many circumstances? Something living, that grew from a tiny little seed, meant for the sole purpose of beauty. Flowers are a whole industry. People spend millions (maybe billions?) on them each year. We press flowers. We dry flowers. We save them as mementos. We feel special when we receive them, and derive joy from giving them.
Imagine never having received a flower, never known the comfort a bloom can bring. After Horizon’s volunteer flower program began, one of our Hospice nurses shared a story after delivering a bouquet to a patient. Her lady was so pleased when presented with the gift, she started to cry. Our nurse asked what was wrong, and her patient told her that not once in her life had she ever been given flowers. Those flowers, donated by a grocery store and arranged by a volunteer in the Horizon cafeteria meant so much – they not only brightened a dying woman’s day, but they made her feel loved, cared for, important, comforted and most of all like she was top priority on that day, which is what we want every patient to feel.
Horizon is partnering with a new local organization called Petals for Patients to bring the community into our mission to make each and every patient the top priority. Petals will work with brides and special event planners in Milwaukee to donate the gorgeous flowers prepared for weddings and other events to Hospice patients. For a small fee, Petals will pick up and transport arrangements after special events, re-arrange the blooms, and deliver amazing arrangements. And the donation is tax deductible! It feels like a real win-win, and the part that I love most is how much flowers touch people, for so many different ways. Flowers are an important part of our society, and we are bringing them to our patients on a regular basis, not just Valentine’s Day.