A village in mourning

This week began by being rocked by tragedy. It was an ordinary Monday morning when a young woman was hit by a lorry on the outskirts of the village. In the shop we were all exhausted following a busy Mother’s Day weekend. We were waiting for a fresh delivery of flower to arrive from the continent and the village was pretty quiet. The school rush had died down, children would now be in morning lessons, parents back at home or busy at work.

Outside the shop the noise of distant sirens could be heard, followed by the humming of a helicopter overhead. For a while we thought there must have been a traffic accident and hoped no one was seriously hurt. As time went on we wondered why there was very little traffic passing through the village, but then a customer came into the shop and said that the main road had be closed as there had been a serious accident. We continued busying ourselves with the day to day activities and tried not to ponder on what might have happened, but the road remained closed for most of the day and national radio stations were advising drivers to avoid the area.

It was with great shock and immense sadness to find out later that day that a young woman had been killed crossing the road. Hearing that anyone had lost their life was bad enough, but to find out that she was a beloved wife, mother, sister and daughter of people we knew and a significant part of the community, was utterly shocking.

In the days following we were inundated with requests for condolence bouquets. I can see how people would want to express their sadness and show that their thoughts are with those having to bear such deep sorrow, but even as a florist, I’m not sure how much comfort flowers can give in situations like this.

Flowers for condolence.

Having a house filled with the sight and scent of beautiful flowers can bring joy, but in circumstances like this they can only give some comfort in knowing that people are thinking of you, while also serving as a constant reminder of what has happened. So I’ve had mixed feelings while making up bouquets this week. I’ve had to think carefully about the sentiment behind every order and try to convey that in the choice of flower and foliage, the colours and the structure.

The tragedy this week, the loss of someone who has been so obviously part of this community has made getting this right so important to me and to all our florists.

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