in memoriam: why blossom became sacred to me

A year today (or not)

Just over a year ago my dad passed away. 

I'd wanted to write this over a week ago (last Saturday) and have it ready for the exact day. Unfortunately, life gets in the way and, as it turns out, all the nice things I'd had planned for that difficult weekend prevented me from digging around in my brain and analysing all the things I was thinking and feeling. But it allowed me to have a clear and joyful weekend with my lovely partner. 

In a way I'm glad that I'm looking back reflecting instead of anticipating pain in advance. I have a friend whose father passed away on the same day as Dad did but a year before. Reading their posts and looking at their photos I felt a twang of guilt that I wasn't giving Dad the social media representation that the one year anniversary deserved. Spelling it out now makes me realise how perverse that is and what a strange world we live in now. 

The actual weekend was lovely. My partner and I went over to Somerset on the Friday night, Bath on the Saturday and a very windy trip to Durdle Door beach on Sunday. He'd bought me white flowers, which he knows are my fave, and I even bumped into a friend I haven't seen in a good while in Bath. All in all, and probably also quite guiltily, I didn't find myself actually getting very emotional about Dad, except a moment in a gift shop at Lulworth Cove when I spotted some fudge that I definitely would have bought for him if he were still around. 


Good Girls

It was only on the Monday evening when I was home alone watching the first episode of Good Girls on Netflix that I had a real moment. There's a scene in the first episode where the husband of a married couple is staying at a motel because he's really screwed up their finances (and not to mention another woman) and the wife drops off their gaggle of kids for him to watch for a few hours. (NB. Obviously this character himself is nothing like my actual father thus far.)  

It was the moment when the wife leaves and the father turns back to his kids and says, 'ok, who wants pizza?'. Then came the waterworks, the likes of which I haven't seen for weeks. I think it was just the idea of a dad who's just trying to make the best of a difficult situation. In our case, it wasn't his fault. When we were kids, all he'd ever tried to do was keep us safe and happy and comfortable. He wasn't fond of cooking, nor had he even been particularly good at it. He was diplomatic and caring but not naturally affectionate. Looking back I can see how he struggled. 

So that's what got me. Pizza. As ever. 


Anyway - blossom. 

So apart from relaying the odd intricacies of my grief, the point of this blog was really more of a celebration of something Dad has a peculiar fondness for: blossom. Every year when spring rolled around he'd be pointing out the best blossom trees in Norwich. But he liked spring flowers more generally. Whenever we were going down this road called Grapes Hill, he'd remark on when the snowdrops and flowers were popping up on the verge in between the two lanes. It was dead cute. 

I guess in my early years I thought he was just humouring us and trying to find something nice for us to focus on. It was only when I got older that I realised that he genuinely just enjoyed blossom for himself. If his funeral hadn't been in early July, I would have had that entire crematorium bathed in the stuff. 

I thought of the project idea when spring started this year. I kept thinking how sad it was that it was the first spring blossom of many that he was going to miss. I promised myself I would enjoy it for him and thus inspired the idea of photographing as much of it as I could before it all fell for summer. 

Here you can see some of my choice picks, and I'll be posting these and more on my instagram over the coming days and weeks. 

This one's for you, Dad - but I guess they all are. 

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