Marsha ran her fingertips softly over the tips of the white gardenias and inhaled their soft scent. She had never known that her mother had always loved gardenias; she had always thought she preferred roses.
She stood next to the coffin and gazed at the peaceful face of her dear mother, a lone tear slowly slipping down her face. When she had received the call from the nursing home that her mother had passed away in her sleep, she hadn't been ready. She had rushed to settle things at work and hopped on the next flight to her home town. Throughout the flight she tried to list all of the things that she would need to do to prepare for her mother's funeral. But she was so overcome with sadness; she just couldn't deal with any details.
She rented a car at the airport and drove straight to the funeral home in town. Although she did not look forward to this meeting, she knew that it needed to be done.
The Funeral Director met with her in his office. She appreciated the sympathy and compassion he showed as he got her some water and let her take some time to compose herself. Then he pulled out a manila file and removed some papers.
"Your mother met with me several years ago, after the death of your father," he explained. "She wanted to take care of her own funeral arrangements, so you wouldn't have to worry about it. This is what she requested. I'd like you to review it."
A wave a relief swept over Marsha as she read through the paperwork. How like her mother to make sure that everything was in order for her family. All of the little details were listed, from her mother's favorite hymn to her mother's favorite flowers.
"Gardenias," Marsha thought, wiping the tears from her eyes. "I would have never guessed gardenias."