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Mom’s Old Flowers [Written July 2, 2017]

Yesterday at my mom’s apartment, I drop by after buying a fresh bouquet of flowers for her at the Chico Saturday Farmers’ Market. I do this because I know that her last fresh flowers are from Mother’s Day — live lilies in a white plastic pot — are getting wilted and sad on the table near her window.

I get a vase down from the kitchen shelves and carefully arrange the bouquet. Mom is at the kitchen counter paying her bills. I take the vase over to the table and start to remove her lilies.

“No, no. Leave them there,” says Mom.

“But, mom, they’re tired and wilted and will be dead soon.”

“Now, now, you just leave them there. I’m watching them.”


“I’m waiting to see who goes first, them or me.”

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Denny July 2, 2017, 2:57 PM

    Wow! My mom lost her sense of humor when she turned 70.

  • Dr. Jay July 2, 2017, 3:01 PM

    Over the years I’ve read your “My Mom’s Birthday” stuff, and enjoyed each one. You are blessed man mr. Vanderleun. Blessed, yes indeed.

  • Leslie July 2, 2017, 4:34 PM

    I love your mom.

  • Leslie July 2, 2017, 4:37 PM

    Btw, those are called Peace Lilies (Spathiphyllum) and they will continue to grow and bloom with care. I think you should care for them to keep her motivated. A friendly competition is always good.

  • Cletus Socrates July 2, 2017, 4:44 PM

    Visited Dad (90) and Mom (86) today – 160 mile drive – not too bad. He is rather frail but alert and engaged tho even talking is a challenge, much less getting around. Mom is a bundle of energy that amazes me. These people, like your mom, are a gift from God.


  • Bang Gunley July 2, 2017, 5:36 PM

    I don’t know your Mom but I love her. What a line.

  • bgarrett July 2, 2017, 5:53 PM

    I love your mom

  • Nori July 2, 2017, 7:20 PM

    A wicked sharp sense of humor in those Vanderleun genes. Suspect it aids in longevity.
    Nip those spent Spath blooms off,the plant will continue to grow.
    Your Mom is quite an awesome lady.

  • Monty James July 2, 2017, 7:55 PM

    Hardcore, and what an example for the rest of us. Thanks for the post, best to your mother.

  • Casey Klahn July 2, 2017, 10:42 PM

    I also like flowers on the wilt. Your mom’s a smart cookie.

  • DeAnn July 3, 2017, 6:13 AM

    priceless, precious … she is simply the best

  • Julie July 3, 2017, 9:13 AM

    She is truly a delight.

  • Helene Bidwell July 3, 2017, 3:54 PM

    Heh, your Mom is the best! These days a particular favorite of mine is Willie Nelson’s new song “I woke up this morning and I’m still not dead.” God bless the Vanderleuns.

  • Joe June 11, 2019, 10:09 AM

    Gerard, I see where you got your talent for writing.

  • Mike Anderson June 11, 2019, 12:26 PM

    That’s the perfect snapshot for a lady that can find humor in the ephemeral. We all miss her.

  • JoanOfArgghh! June 11, 2019, 12:48 PM

    Oh, I laughed out loud!
    Everything was, apparently, always on her terms. Sweet rest, grant her, O Lord!

  • azlibertarian June 11, 2019, 1:17 PM

    Gerard, your mom was a gem. But you knew that. Again, thanks for sharing her with us.

  • Jeff Brokaw June 11, 2019, 1:32 PM

    Good sense of humor. Naturally. Of course.

    I suspect everybody who lives to be 100+ has one.

    This great story brought a smile to my face! Thanks, and hang in there my good man.

  • rabbit tobacco June 11, 2019, 1:43 PM
  • Ulysses Toole June 11, 2019, 6:10 PM

    Yes Gerald, thank you for sharing her life with us. She was a gem. Being from ND, I always enjoyed her first memories in Fargo. Let the Lord shorten her travel to His side.

  • Stephanie June 11, 2019, 7:01 PM

    You have been such a lucky son and a lucky man. All mothers to sons wish they could live as long to be such wonderful allies. God bless you both! Always.

  • Matt Burchett June 11, 2019, 7:18 PM

    What a beauty and a cutie she “was” for us … and now “is” for all time and beyond. I share your grief today while holding fast to the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through Christ. Joyous reunions await us, sir. You may count upon it.

  • Casey Klahn June 11, 2019, 7:31 PM

    Very sorry for your loss. Many passings for you and all very close.

    My reminder to take the days as gifts. You are our gift, and your lovely mom has also been a gift for us.

    Take care, Gerard.

  • B_Rad June 11, 2019, 9:01 PM

    Lost both my parents in their 80’s. The hurt never really goes away. It’ll catch up with me in the early mornings to this day. 104? Holy crap she should be celebrated not morned. Easier said than done. Stay strong my friend.

  • D S Craft June 12, 2019, 8:14 AM

    Mr. Van der Leun, I’ve been reading you for many, many years now, going back to not long after 911. Over the years I’ve read your posts regarding your mom with such envy that you still had your mom with you and have said so in a few comments, but dreading the arrival of this day which has come to pass. I felt over the past month or so that you have been telling us that you knew the time had arrived and to be prepared. And so it has. But do know this: you are not alone. You have many, many people who care deeply for you and your mom walking right along beside you helping you carry this terrible load. Also know that your mom lived a good life and, from all accounts, enjoyed it to the fullest. It was a life well lived. And finally, know that you are a good son. You understood long ago what a treasure you had in your mom and you showed it. What more can a mother ask for than the love of her family. If I was one one-hundredth the wordsmith you are I could write something inspiring that might make you feel better, but I’m not so I’ll just leave you with this poem that I picked up from you. I love it so much.

    Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    By Mary Elizabeth Frye

    Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I am not there; I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow,
    I am the diamond glints on snow,
    I am the sun on ripened grain,
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry,
    I am not there; I did not die.

  • Sam L. June 12, 2019, 9:25 AM

    A mom for the ages, Gerard!

  • Vanderleun June 12, 2019, 9:30 AM

    Thank you all… and thank you, Craft. As you can see I’ve placed the poem on the side.

    God bless all.

  • IP June 12, 2019, 11:49 AM

    Prayers and strength to you sir. Be certain in this, your mother will be missed by us all.