Wilted Gratitude

Christmas, and when clients complete the programme and are to leave the ‘safety’ of their counsellor’s support are times when some have been moved to express their thanks in gift-giving.

Today it happened in reverse. A client returned to our service requesting support and her delight in reconnecting with the service was obvious. I have worked with her on two previous occasions and we quickly fell into conversation as she explained her current circumstances.

She walked me to the car when our meeting had ended and brought out a small bunch of flowers.

“These are for you.”

“Oh my, thank you,”

“Smell them, they’re really beautiful,” she said. “The red ones smell the best but they have the most prickles,” she continued.

“Hmm, you’re right the red ones are fragrant,” I replied.

“I got them for you this morning.”

“Wow, thank you again. I don’t know what to say, we’re not supposed to accept gifts.”

“It’s not a gift. I don’t have money to buy food, so gifts aren’t going to happen,” she laughed.

It never ceases to humble me that those who have so little and live in such desperate circumstances are often the ones to show us how to live with a heart of gratitude.

“You came to see me when no-one else would, I wanted to do something so you’d know I appreciate how you made me feel when you said you’d come,” she teared up.

I thanked her again, hopped into the car and left, my turn for tearing up.

I found a medium sized vase in which to place the flowers and set about unwrapping them. First one head fell off and then two more. With the bunch of roses held gingerly in my hand I noticed the brown marks on the petals of those heads that had fully blossomed. There remained five perfect rosebuds out of fifteen heads in the bunch. I found a smaller vase and placed the roses into fresh water and admired them as I thought how my heart had been touched.

I placed the wrapping and the tired roses into the bin but not before I noticed a card fall to the floor. It read … “R.I.P. Doreen”



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