This Is How I Want to Age Well

Finding inspiration in the changing of beautiful things

My husband had bought me the beautiful bouquet of roses just days before I left on a business trip. They were long-stemmed, a mix of red, white, pink, and yellow, accented with baby’s breath and greenery, fresh and lovely.

I was sad to leave them because I knew I would miss their bloom into full glory and they would be faded by the time I returned home. And they were, of course. But I tried to salvage what I could, plucking out those drooped and faded, trimming the stems of those that remained, and placing them in fresh water.

Every couple of days, I would find that another aging rose had dropped soft petals like sad teardrops on the tabletop. I caressed these satiny reminders of what had been between my fingers as I gathered them from where they had fallen. The roses had bent their heads, releasing their petals, their life expired.

Until only one rose remained. White, fully bloomed, it didn’t shrink from aging. It didn’t bow its head, submitting to melancholy and death. It stood upright and stately. Strong, though yellowing as weeks passed, mellowing into an antique white.

Rather than dropping its petals, it slowly yielded their smooth satin to a new softness, crepe-paper thin. And bore them proudly. Intact. It was still beautiful.

“I had to take a picture of this last remaining rose,” I told my husband, who had happened upon me when in photographer mode. “Look at it. Despite its aging, it is still so beautiful.”

“Just like you,” he said, looking back at me. Then he kissed me.

Oh, how I needed to hear that. And how I hope he is right.

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