|Arranging a Dream: A Memoir|
by J.Q. Rose
In 1975, budding entrepreneurs Ted and Janet purchase a floral shop and greenhouses where they plan to grow their dream. Leaving friends and family behind in Illinois and losing the security of two paychecks, they transplant themselves, their one-year-old daughter, and all their belongings to Fremont, Michigan, where they know no one.
Will the retiring business owners nurture Ted and Janet as they struggle to develop a blooming business, or will they desert the young couple to wither and die in their new environment?
Most of all, can Ted and Janet grow together as they cultivate a loving marriage, juggle parenting with work, and root a thriving business?
Follow this couple’s inspiring story, filled with the joy and triumphs and the obstacles and failures experienced as they travel along the turbulent path of turning dreams into reality.
EXCERPT: Chapter 13, The Funeral Business Keeps Us Alive
Arranging a Dream: A Memoir
A few months into the winter season, I had the sad task of creating a small casket spray of white roses for a baby. This order was the first one I would design on my own since the baby’s visitation and funeral were scheduled on a Sunday. I waited until Sunday morning to go downstairs to the silent shop to design the miniature casket spray.
Switching on the lights didn’t chase away the gloom that winter morning in the design room. I noticed the chill and dampness in the air as I gathered everything I would need to create the piece.
I soaked the foam used as the base to hold the flowers. It had to be a small piece to fit the small baby casket. I went to the cooler and took out the white sweetheart roses, greens and baby's breath and set them on the design table. I wrapped the block of foam in green foil and taped it onto a papier-mache tray. A casket saddle used as the base for an adult-sized casket spray that fits on the foot of a casket would have been too large.
I set the prepared foam block next to the bucket of flowers and greens. I could not stop thinking of the heartbroken mother and father of this baby. My eyes brimmed with tears when I thought of losing Sara. How does one get through the crushing grief? The loss?
I prayed, “Please, Lord, be with this grieving family. Give them strength to endure the loss of their beloved baby. Give them comfort and peace. Be with their friends to help them through this unimaginable grief and loss. Be with me as I design this loving tribute to their baby. Bless my hands and sharpen my skills to help bring peace to their grieving hearts. Amen.”
I stepped back from the design table, closed my eyes, and pictured the small casket spray. This floral spray was the most important piece I had ever made. I took my time to place the dainty flowers and ribbons into a design to convey how special their baby was.
Working on this spray brought home the bond that I had with the families, my customers. My work was woven into families’ celebrations through weddings, graduation parties, and through their trials of sickness and death. I would be a part of the highs and the lows in people’s lives. I felt the weight of this huge responsibility and was humbled by the honor of being trusted to be a part of their life-changing moments.
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Whether the story is fiction or non-fiction, J.Q. Rose is “focused on story.” She offers readers chills, giggles and quirky characters woven within the pages of her romantic suspense novels. Her published mysteries are Deadly Undertaking, Terror on Sunshine Boulevard and Dangerous Sanctuary released by Books We Love Publishing. Using her storytelling skills, she provides entertainment and information with articles featured in books, magazines, newspapers, and online magazines.
Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games and travel are the things that keep JQ out of trouble. She and her husband spend winters in Florida and summers up north with their two daughters, two sons-in-law, four grandsons, one granddaughter, two grand dogs, four grand cats, and one great-grand bearded dragon.
Thanks for sharing a snippet from your book. It was sad, but I enjoyed reading what you realized from the experience and how your flower shop connected you with your community.
Thank you, Natalie. It was sad, but I had to share it since this moment was important in nailing down how I really felt about being in this business and affirmed I had a very important role to fulfill.
You obviously put your heart and soul into your work. It must make the arrangements more meaningful for your customers. That's really lovely.
Thanks for sharing, Janet. Best of success with this wonderful book.
Nice moment and brings your feelings and the flowers into focus
This is a heart-breaking excerpt, JQ. Your writing is tender and heartfelt, and I felt all the care you were putting into the baby's flowers. Your empathy for the parents is in every word.
Best to you with this heartfelt book, JQ. I've shared. :)
Thank you, Linda.
Thank you. I like how you said summed up the moment.
Thank you. I am pleased your felt what was in my heart.
Thank you, Marsha. I like describing the moment as heartfelt. Thank you for sharing.
Good book, Janet. Good choice for anyone!
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