Flowers for the Family

Since my parents died 10 years ago, my sister Angie and I have taken responsibility for putting flowers on everyone’s graves. By that, I mean parents, grandparents, and even a great-uncle (whom we loved as children). Uncle Dave was buried in the same grave as his parents. I can’t explain how all that transpired, because there’s only one grave, but three people in it. I just assume that our great-grandfather was buried deep, great-grandmother Eunice was buried on top, and then Uncle Dave jumped in. (So to speak.)
Mama and Papa’s flowers. I like to put a little purple in her bouquet, because she loved lavender and soft purples.
Anyway, all that is a bit morbid, no? So, let’s get to the flowers. Now, some of the other sisters also put flowers. All the graves have marble vases that are almost break- and steal-proof, so we don’t need to worry about vases. I cut the silk flowers apart at home (or not) and bring all the tools we need to sweep, clean-up, and arrange flowers.
Uncle Dave’s flowers. I often put neutral greenery without flowers, but decided to go with something different. I like the blue, orange, and yellow.
I keep plastic storage bins of flowers. I hate the way silk flowers look so ratty and fade after a few months, which means we change them three or so times each year. Angie visits Mom and Dad’s grave regularly and lets me know when it’s time to bring in some new ones. If there’s a special day coming up, we might bring a few flowers to refresh the bouquet. Toss the bad-looking ones and replace them with new, bright colors. If I put different colors in, the bouquet looks entirely different.
Two views of mom and dad’s flowers. I like really full, packed bouquets.
We change out everything for special days, like All Souls’ Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas, etc.. Take it all the way down to the marble. But watch for wasps! They like to make nests in the flowers and hide themselves well. I’ve learned to whack the flowers with the broom. If anything flies out, I can use the broom handle to jerk the whole thing out and throw it away. We take care of the work, then can go back and squash the wasp nest. Generally, the wasps leave. They got one of us a few times, so replacing flowers has its adventures.
Lousisana has what we call des geps rouge or red wasps. They are horribly mean little things. They do not give up easily AND their sting burns. For a long time. They are the worst thing we’ve encountered. I say this although we’ve fought off mosquitoes in wet weather. So, half the year.
Richard’s dad’s flowers. These are in a small vase. I have a couple of vases that I switch out when I need one.
Angie takes care of Grandma and Grandpa Bourque, who are buried in Lafayette. Rich and I drive his mom to the various cemeteries to put flowers on the rest of his family. She can still get around a bit, but we had to split it into a few days.

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