“Stop, Daddy, stop!” my sisters and I would excitedly beg our daddy when we saw a patch of daisies blooming beside the road in Tennessee. If it was safe to do so, he would pull the car off the road, and we would scramble out and pick bouquets of daisies to take home.
Later as a grown-up, I would stop my own car to pick daisies with my children, passing the tradition on to the next generation. Even today, it is a joy to see daisies growing alongside the road, for instance, at the top of Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado or in the high country of Canada. Seeing daisies in bloom brings back my happy childhood memories.
When we were children, my siblings and I had very few store-bought toys. So we spent many hours outside in nature—picking wild flowers, climbing trees, planting seeds, and learning to identify birds. Our daddy taught us to identify trees by their leaves and the bark, and how to mimic the whistle of a female bobwhite.
When we heard the “bobwhite” call of the male, we would climb high into a tree and “whistle him up” closer. It was exciting when the bird flew closer and closer; we could tell because his bobwhite responses grew louder and louder. Such delight for a child to fool a bobwhite!
But picking daisies is still one of my favorite memories. In spite of the fact that their fragrance is not particularly pleasant, their beauty can brighten a home for days! So it is no wonder that I relate to Nadine Stair’s poem “I’d Pick More Daisies,” written when she was 85 years old.
Perhaps, as Nadine was getting older, she looked back at her life with some regrets. Or maybe she just realized that it was time to find enjoyment in every moment she could. In case you have never read her poem, here it is—“I’d Pick More Daisies.”
If I had my life to live over,
I’d try to make more mistakes next time.
I would relax. I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have on this trip.
I would be crazier. I would be less hygienic.
I would take more chances,
I would take more trips.
I would climb more mountains,
Swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets.
I would burn more gasoline.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would have more actual troubles
And fewer imaginary ones. . . .
Oh, I have had my moments.
And if I had it to do over again, I’d have more to them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else.
Just moments, one after another,
Instead of living so many years ahead each day.
I have been one of those people who
Never goes anywhere without a thermometer,
A hot water bottle, a gargle, a raincoat, and a parachute.
If I had to do it over again,
I would go places and do things.
I’d travel lighter than I have,
I would start barefooted earlier in the spring
And stay that way later in the fall. . . .
I would ride on merry-go-rounds.
I’d pick more daisies!
The older I get, the faster each year seems to zoom by. In my younger adult years, I used to try to get all the work finished before doing anything fun. The only problem was that there was seldom time for fun after I got all my work done—you may relate! Now I try to work and play.
After my husband’s death, it became even more important to find enjoyment every day—in the small things; in nature; in time with those I love; in doing things I enjoy. If you too are hurting from a loss, I encourage you to live your life without regrets, to search for enjoyment, to slow down, to stop the car, and “pick more daisies.”
Call about the next "Living Life after Loss" Group at:
Meadowlark Hospice 709 Liberty Clay Center, Kansas
Dawn Phelps, RN/LMSW, Group Facilitator