Daffodils never make things worse

There’s a roadside bank I frequently drive past, and at this time of year, it’s awash with yellow daffodils. It’s a slightly dark section of road, but the flowers glow, and it’s a wonderful, uplifting sight after the long winter.

Driving past a few days ago, I was reminded of my situation 13 years ago. I regularly drove past this bank of daffodils, but on those occasions, it was to visit my dying father. On the way to see him, I’d be in a highly anxious state, with questions coursing through my mind. What state would he be in today? What news of his health would greet me? Would he be comfortable? I suspect there were many times I passed the flowers without even noticing them, fixated instead on safely navigating the road in my fretful, distressed state.

Hours later, on the way back home, I’d often drive in tears. Heart-broken at leaving him, wondering if it was the final goodbye, feeling guilt that I had to keep my own life going, and trying to hold onto the feel of his hand in mine. I was awash with grief at what was happening and terror about what I knew would come. He wasn’t going to get better.

As I reached the bank of daffodils, their brightness would slice through my grief, if not brightening me, at least calming a little. They were an insistent reminder of life, renewal, cycles, and presence. They couldn’t solve my grief or mend my Dad, but they never made things worse either, and on many occasions, soothed me and reminded me to appreciate the simple fact of being alive, even through the pain.

Even in those highly emotional times, when I felt such acute pain, I also connected to a sense of gratitude. I guessed it was council land, and council workers who had planted them and kept the brambles at bay. People unknown to me had planned the effect, secured budget, scheduled the work and maintenance. I’ll never know them to thank them.

How many other uplifting sights are offered by unseen and underappreciated workers? So, if you are one, know that your work is seen and appreciated. Because daffodils never make things worse and might just make things a little better.

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