On a shelf in my room I have a photograph of my grandparents wedding. I don't really remember the first time I saw the picture I just know I was very young. They had red roses at their wedding and I remember thinking they were very 'pretty' (in the way young girls see weddings and pretty flowers).
I recently discovered this picture in a drawer at my mum's house and the meaning this classic flower has for me came flooding back.
My grandfather died when I was 15 years old and we had red roses at the funeral.
Soon after he died I started to write a diary, he'd been my main father figure and I missed him tremendously, and like many other teenagers, I needed an outlet.
In the diary I put the front of a sympathy card someone had bought for me which had a poem about a rose passing through to the other side of a wall (The Rose Beyond The Wall - Author Unknown) and although it had religious connotations (I'm not a religious person) it gave me a great deal of comfort at such a young age.
Also in the diary I'd included a dried, pressed rose from the funeral (I pressed flowers a lot with my grandma when I was young - it was lots of fun).
The instances of the red rose popping up had little significance to me when I was young and I think it's partly because of this (and partly because I've moved a few times and am a bit scatty) that I have no idea where the diary is. I must have lost it or thrown it away by mistake during a move.
It's only recently that I've discovered the real connotations this stunning flower has for me. It has cropped up at a few poignant moments of my life, my grandparents wedding, their funerals (we also had red roses at my grandmother's funeral), my favourite painting (Salvador Dali's Meditative Rose) and now more recently in my private life.
The more recent instance I feel has allowed me to truly appreciate why this flower means so much to me.
The significance of being close to someone.
The emotion it evokes.
The understanding that you can be so close to someone - geographically (living in the same area, possibly have a similar group of friends etc), not meet them for decades, and then when you finally meet realising you have this 'thing' (in this case a red rose) in common and that the significance of that item is shared. Knowing that this significance needs no explanation - it's just there and you both understand it.
I adore the notion that you can have something so specific in common with someone you've never met.
Throughout our teens and into adult life we're bombarded with the idea that roses are romantic, that they represent love and define a relationship yet they have little actual meaning for many people.
Take St Valentine's Day for example. Specifically, roses given as a gift - just because its Valentine's Day. I'm a strong believer that you shouldn't need the excuse of Valentine's Day to show your appreciation or love for someone, but if you're going to give a gift on that day surely there should be more thought involved - not just roses because they were on display in the florist.
The roses received in this instance will simply die and be thrown away with the rest of the household rubbish without a second thought.
Like anything else - unless they actually mean something to you they have no importance, they are just 'pretty' flowers as seen through the eyes of a small child when looking at a wedding photograph.
Salvador Dali Meditative Rose