Kristen, July 1985
Kristen, July 1985

Roses, especially small yellow ones, have always had a special meaning to me throughout my life ~ being a symbol of beauty, light and love. However, after the death of our only daughter and child at the time, on July 21, 1985, that meaning grew in significance.

A few years after Kristen’s death, I asked my sister-in-law to draw for me how I envisioned ‘my rose.’ Her design truly embraces my grief journey. The contrasting closed and open rose on a single stem symbolizes my path through pain to a new kind of ‘wholeness.’

Yellow rose

The closed rose portrays my life the instant Kristen died and for many years afterwards ~ shutdown, frozen, and believing I might never live and love again as I had before. I was, in many ways, closed also to new relationships (outside of other bereaved parents) for fear of losing them too. I didn’t want to hurt anymore so I limited who I ‘let in.’

Yet through experiencing my ‘spiritual awakenings’ over the years (shared in articles under Coping & Healing), I have gone through different levels of transformation and growth, symbolized as the open rose. It opens above the closed rose to signify moving along my grief journey from the depths of darkness to the healing light ~ slowly mending my wounded and fractured heart, mind and soul.

Although I realize that my journey after my daughter’s death is in many ways a lifelong one, I feel more ‘whole’ than ever before ~ ready to live life again, to be open to new relationships, to new possibilities, and to new learnings.

Roses have a special meaning to me ~ in the past, in the present, and in the future. Yet, one thing endures across time for me ~ the healing power of faith, hope and love ~ all of which are symbolized in ‘my rose.’

Deb Lee Gould, MEd, Director
FOD Family Support Group 
MCAD Parent and Grief Consultant 
April 2000

For local (MI) bereaved parents and family members – I have an office in Okemos, MI, Monday – Fridays, so we can meet one-on-one for non-denominational grief support. Please call 517.381.1940 for an appt [Grief Consult Brochure 8.5×11].

Please note: If anyone has an individual or family loss and grief concern, and would like another perspective (via face-to-face, phone or video) on that concern, please email me [and complete the online Grief Intake Form on my site (Forms page) so I have a better idea of your life situation]. I have experienced a child’s sudden death, some miscarriages, the loss of my father at age 3, have raised an MCAD young adult (as well as his MCAD carrier brother), have a Master’s degree in Education/Counseling (1993), am a non-denominational ordained minister, and have worked with bereaved parents over the years since 1991. Our confidential sessions, of course, would not take the place of face-to-face counseling/therapy with another mental health or medical professional if that’s something you choose to do and feel that you may benefit from, but it might offer you some helpful suggestions while working through your own grief as an individual and as a family. I also refer out to other professionals when there are clinical issues that I am not able to work with.