I was twelve years old when my grandfather passed away. I remember growing cold when I heard the news, so cold I had to put on every sweater I owned though it was a hot Florida summer day.
I spent the next few days in a fog, barely seeing or hearing anything until the funeral. The one bright point I recall was a floral arrangement, heart-shaped and bursting with vivid red roses. When the service ended and the guests left, I gathered all the roses up into boxes and bags and took them home with me, intending to keep them forever in my grandfather's memory.
Unfortunately, I didn't know anything about preserving flowers, and within a few days my heaps of red roses wilted and crumbled. I tried to save a few, pressing them between the pages of books, but it was too late. Finally, I had to throw them all away.
Weeks later, I was sitting on my bed reading a book when the strangest thing happened: a few dried red rose petals fluttered out of nowhere and landed on the pages.
I froze in amazement then began trying to figure out where they could have come from. I knew I hadn't kept any flowers in this book, and even if I had, they would have fallen out when I turned a page. There was no wind in the room that could have blown around any petals I might still have had hiding somewhere.
Finally, I looked up realizing the only place they could have come from was the painting of roses on the wall above my bed.
I checked behind the painting, which had once hung in my mother's room, to see if she might have pressed a flower to the back. I found nothing.
There was no other explanation but the one I desperately wanted to believe - that my grandfather had seen the painting and used it to give me something to remember him by, something to hold on to.
I still have those petals today, though I haven't heard from my grandfather again. I like to think the petals symbolize that although all beautiful things eventually die, there are ways to treasure them long after their passing.