The Scent of Lilacs
I was meeting a friend for lunch at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton on May 6th, 2010 when my husband called to tell me Milo had died. I kept saying “who?” “who died?”. The facts just wouldn’t sink in. “Not Milo!” In a daze I wandered into the foyer to find Marilyn who hadn’t arrived yet. I kept pacing back and forth from one end to the other looking for her. She finally appeared. I waited until we sat down to lunch before blurting out the news. She cried while I robotically repeated the words. We ordered and talked then she asked me if I wanted to go back home. “No,” I said. “I want to see the lilacs. Let’s walk.”
The Lilac Festival was the following weekend and the bushes were in their glory. Purples, mauves, pinks and whites of all species. The flowers never smelled so fragrant to me or looked so glorious. I savoured every inhalation and every vista. We walked slowly and I took many photographs. I thought of Milo and how she would never have this chance again. I thought about how fragile life is and how lucky I was to be able to experience the scent of lilac for another season. We walked and talked. I’m glad I took that time. After a few hours I was ready to drive home, call the airline and fly to Edmonton to face reality.