A man grieving for his deceased wife pays for a penniless girl’s flowers at a florist and his kind gesture transforms his life.
For Richard Preston, Sundays were the worse. Sundays were the days he and Anne would laze in bed for hours, talking and watching the shadows march across their ceiling, eating pancakes and dropping crumbs on the sheets.
It was on a Sunday that Anne had died. Richard had woken to find her clutching at his arm, her sweet face contorted, her other hand cupped over her swollen belly. Richard had rushed her to the hospital, to no avail. Anne had died, and their baby with her. It was a Sunday.
Richard’s kind gesture at a florist transformed his life | Source: Shutterstock.com
Two years had passed but for Richard, it felt as if hardly a week had gone by. He couldn’t seem to come out of that haze of pain. He missed Anne constantly, and her loss left a gaping hole in his life.
Richard walked into his favorite florist on his way to the cemetery. The man would already have his bouquet for Anne made up: lilies of the valley, and baby’s breath, and a sprig of jasmine to remind him of her perfume.
But when Richard walked in, he found himself in the middle of a conflict. A slender girl in her late teens stood in the middle of the shop, her fists clenched, her chin up, hazel eyes sparking fire.
“Please,” she said, and her voice trembled. Richard saw that the sparkle in her eyes were tears she was holding back, not anger. “I know I don’t have enough money for the lilies, but I’ll work for them…Clean up, sweep…”
Two years after, Richard was still haunted by his wife’s death | Source: Unsplash
The florist just kept shaking his head. “Girl, I tell you these lilies are for a regular customer and I wouldn’t sell them to you if you did have the full $25!”
“But you don’t understand!” the girl cried. “I have to have them, for HER! They were her favorites. I’ll give you my phone, I’ll kneel to you if that is what it takes, but please!”
The girl bent her proud head and started going down on her one knee and that was when Richard intervened. He stepped forward quickly and placed his hand under her elbow. “You don’t kneel to anyone, you hear?” Richard said. “Ever, for anything!”
“Hey Jack,” Richard said to the florist. “Are those my lilies this young lady wanted?” Jack nodded and Richard continued: “In that case you give them to her, please. I’ll pay for them.”
Every week he took Anne a bouquet of her favorite lilies of the valley | Source: Unsplash
The florist handed the bouquet to the girl who buried her face in the cool petals. “Oh, it even SMELLS like her!” she gasped. Then with a grateful look at Richard, she was gone.
Richard pulled out his wallet and paid Jack for the lilies. “I tell you what Jack, give me a bouquet of those calla lilies if you don’t mind.” As he walked out of the shop, Richard thought about the girl.
Anne wouldn’t mind him giving the girl her lilies. Anne had given her life to girls like her, she would have given her the flowers too. Richard smiled for the first time in a long time, remembering his Anne’s passion for her work.
Anne had been a social worker and had worked with young at-risk girls, taking them from nightmarish situations and finding them happy homes. “Oh Anne,” he whispered. “I’d almost forgotten your smile and how much you loved life!”
There was a young girl at the florist trying to buy Anne’s favorite flowers | Source: Pexels
Richard walked to the cemetery in a haze of happy memories, but when he got to Anne’s grave, he was in for a surprise. The slender girl from the flower shop was there, carefully placing the lilies on Anne’s grave.
When she heard Richard’s footsteps, she turned and stared, her mouth open, looking very young and very vulnerable, with tears silvering her cheeks. “You? Did you know HER too? She saved my life…” The girl said.
Richard nodded and gently lay the calla lilies next to the lilies of the valley. “Anne was my wife,” he said gently. “And you can say she saved my life too.”
“Oh!” the girl cried. “I didn’t know she was gone…They told me yesterday. I couldn’t believe it, She was so alive, so happy. I don’t know how she was so happy when she worked with so many unhappy people like me.”
Richard paid for the girl’s flowers | Source: Unsplash
Richard smiled. “I wondered the same thing many times, but that was Anne. Were you one of her girls?”
“Yes,” the girl said. “I’m Meghan. Anne believed me when no one else would, and she took me away and kept me safe. I love her.”
“I’m Richard,” Richard said and stepped forward to shake Meghan’s hand. “How did you know, about the lilies I mean?”
Meghan smiled. “She always had a bunch in her office, she said her husband always brought her flowers…I guess that was you!”
Richard nodded. “Yes, that was me! Listen, want to grab a cup of coffee?”
Richard was stunned to see the girl placing the flowers on Anne’s grave | Source: Pexels
Meghan did and for hours the two sat in a tiny coffee shop talking about Anne. Meghan was now nearly 18 and about to age out of the system, and the reason she’d come looking for Anne was that she wanted advice on how to survive on her own.
“Well,” Richard said slowly. “Maybe you won’t have to be on your own. I have a big house, lots of rooms and you could stay there. You were Anne’s girl, I guess you’re my girl too. What do you say?”
Over the next six months, Richard and Meghan became the best of friends, and when she turned 18, she moved into Richard and Anne’s home and started going to college. A year later, Richard adopted Meghan legally. Finally, he and Anne had the child they had always dreamed of.
Richard adopted Meghan and they became each other’s best friend | Source: Unsplash
What can we learn from this story?
- The best way to honor a loved one’s legacy is by continuing their work. Richard did what Anne would have done: he took care of Meghan, adopted her, and gave them both what they most needed — a family.
- The good we do endures long after we die. Anne was gone, but her love continued to enrich Richard and Meghan’s lives.
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