A year ago, I planned a trip for my beloved Rose. I took care of all the details and kept a lot of secrets about where we were going and why. I put a lot of thought into making it special, which was especially tricky given that her available weekend kept changing, as did our financial situation. But I was determined, and friends helped out with good advice and suggestions. In the end, it was all rather perfect.
I borrowed a friend’s van with a bed in the back of it. I wore the rainbow skirt she loves. We stopped for lunch at her favourite beach and sat on the shore watching the water as she told me stories about her childhood.
I took us to a forest. It was beautiful, there were birds, butterflies, kangaroos, foxes. Kookaburra’s serenaded us in the evening.
On the way there, we stopped at a nursery and bought some plants. They now have pride of place in our garden and the roses are in full bloom at this time of year every year.
This is one of the roses – Jude, an Austin rose. He is stunning.
That night I laid out dinner – platters of all Rose’s favourite treats. I carefully dropped a towel on the ground near her chair, and rolled up my sleeves so the words I’d written there earlier would be visible. I found the jewellery box I’d been keeping carefully hidden for weeks.
I went down on my knees and read her my poem in a trembling voice. Then I opened the ring box to show her her silver and sapphire ring.
She said yes. We both cried. We read the poem again. We hugged and kissed and ate beautiful food and toasted ourselves.
And she’s stuck by me, through all kinds of calamities. She shines so brightly in the good times, and she’s so tough in the hard ones. I’m so glad to have her in my life, to reach out in the darkest of nights and feel her there, breathing, or even weeping, in the darkness beside me. She is precious, and I’m deeply glad to be her family.