The smell of roses was overpowering. The sweet floral scent wasn’t perfume. It was the real thing. In this articulate home, this was a complete departure from normal. The house was typically clean, with no dust on the surfaces and none on the floor. The normal scent wash Pine Sol, that emanated from the kitchen and bathrooms, Roses were however in the air.
I was greeted by the patients daughter, who cared for her Mom. Love was in the air between them. Over the past several months as I had cared for them, it was clear they loved each I other. Mom had cared for her daughter when she was tiny and small. She had doted on her daughter and had provided her physical and spiritual needs. Shortly after the daughter had been born, Mom became a widow. And she devoted her life to her God, her daughter and her Church. They were as close as a Mom and daughter could be. Surprisingly, there never seemed to be any conflict.
Bee, the daughter, was as devoted a daughter as her Mom had been to her. It was clear that they agreed with each other on almost everything. They lived just a couple of doors from leach other. Their yards were as impeccably kept as the houses. Bee told me that her Mom was sleeping or comatose, but seemed comfortable. As usual, we talked about how she was doing and what her plans were for the future. There was a cruise in her future. She and a friend would sign up and leave for a cruise about three weeks after her Mom’s passing.
With the rose smell becoming stronger, she suggested that we go visit Mom. As we rose from the Kitchen table, I looked around expectantly. “Is something wrong?” Bee asked. “No,” I replied,”I just thought I smelled roses.”
We moved down the hall and into the bedroom where the patient was comfortably enfolded within her favorite blankets and everything arranged just as she liked. I walked in and took her hand telling her who I was and why I had come. Bee and I talked of things that would matter to her Mom and spaced our talk so she could have responded if she was able. But she did not. The rose smell just increased. As we talked, we turned our attention to the Rosary at the bedside. Mom said the Rosary every day when she could and we carried on the tradition at her bedside when she couldn’t.
We finished up the Rosary and it was quite clear there was a change in the patient. I could not continue without mentioning the scent of the roses. Bee asked me if I was Roman Catholic. “No,” was my reply. “I am Methodist.” Bee just broadly grinned and said the most shocking thing I could imagine. “Mary, the Mother of Christ, was also known as the Queen of Heaven and the Queen of Roses.” Sometimes when one of her beloved followers is near death, they say they smell roses as Mary has come close to them. Very rarely, someone else, who does not belong to the Catholic Church will also smell the roses.” I felt my eyebrows rise and wondered if they were as high as the person who had just voiced the words. Her smile was warm and a couple of tears ran down her cheeks.
“You have been chosen, for I don’t smell the roses, but you do. You have been chosen to tell me to prepare, for Mom is close. You have smelled them from the time you entered, Mary is here to help Mother on her way. She has said the Rosary in her heart with us and now it is time for her to go. Will you wait with me?” Of course I would and did. A very quiet and peaceful transition from this life to the next took place.
That was the first time I smelled the roses. It was not to be the last. Always keep ready for the scent of Roses for you never know when you will be in the company of the Queen of Heaven….. and of Roses. I left the home with the smell of roses that lasted for days before it was no longer with me.