Flowers from Mike
Golden, Colorado: August 28, 2006

I went to San Jose, California for what was supposed to be a 3-week business trip. After the first week, on a Saturday, Mike sent me a bouquet of flowers. I was so shocked that I told him that my first thought when I saw them going up the stairs to my hotel room was that someone had died and I was getting flowers. ...but really, I was thankful that he was being sweet and thinking of me. It was the first time in our 13 years together that he had sent me flowers, largely because he knows I'm not a big fan of cut flowers and far prefer live flowering plants.

I'm a strong believer in what my friend Warren calls "signs and portents", and being overwhelmed with a feeling that someone had died prompted me to call my grandma (Dad's mom). The first time I called, she was sleeping so my great aunt asked that I call back ~6 pm EST. When I called the second time, we spoke briefly, where she asked how my trip was going, was happy to hear that I was traveling with a group of people instead of being alone in San Jose, and asked how Mike was. I told her about the flowers and she said "that's because he knows what he's got" and went on to tell me how the love Mike and I share always reminds her of the relationship she had with my grandpa. It had been 15 years since she had seen him, she said, and "15 years is a long time to be without the person you spent 50 years holding hands with". At that point, she was too weak to continue holding the phone, so the rest of our conversation was relayed through my Aunt Pris. Grandma asked about my brother and the last question she had was about Maddie, Hannah, and William.

My grandma passed away in her sleep the following afternoon at the age of 89 1/2 after a 6-year battle with cancer. The folks I was working for canceled the rest of my trip so I could use my return ticket to get back to Colorado on Monday. Mike and I scheduled a flight to Long Island for Tuesday morning, to get there in time for services Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. I didn't want to leave behind all the flowers he sent, but with the restriction on bringing any liquids into the gate area or on the plane (due to supposed terror plot including liquid explosives of some sort a few weeks earlier), I knew I couldn't just walk in with the whole bouquet. So, I took the very prominent lilies out, wrapped the ends of their stems in wet paper towels (which I had to trash then replace after each security checkpoint), and left the rest of the bouquet with one of the housekeepers. Those flowers were quite the attention-getter in the airport. I guess that's one way to stick out - travel alone holding giant bright yellow lilies. I got many compliments and one guy even asked if I had brought him flowers. Mike and I joked that it was very "non-terrorist" to draw so much attention in a time of high security. I felt like I had stepped out of a Jame Bond movie - "look for the lady with the yellow flowers at 2 pm in the airport, Gate 2." ;>)

When I got home, I put them in a vase that my grandma had given us for Christmas a couple of years ago, and took pictures with the card that Mike sent with the bouquet.