The scent of the wild pink rose floats in the wind every summer, as unmistakable as its beauty. When the wind blows and the rain pours down it leaves the branches bare and the ground a bed of roses, but the scent never fails. Beautiful things have the ability to bring happiness, even if only for a fleeting moment. Beautiful things also have an intense ability to make you realize how short life is, how vulnerable we are.
Another beauty that often makes my soul vulnerable is my Little One. The mind often wonders what it would be like for a little girl to live without her mother. It isn’t the reality and it isn’t what the mind wants to consider, but life is life, as unpredictable as it is raw, and sometimes our mind denies us control over how we think. The last few months have also been trying, with news of failing health of loved ones near and far. The truth that our parents are aging is harsh. It has been difficult, no doubt, but a quote from my friend’s blog revived my faith.
“Cancer did not diminish my faith in God, or weaken my relationships with my loved ones. It did not steal my hopes and dreams. It did not make me doubt my belief in myself and my ability to face any challenge. Cancer weakened my body, but my spirit has never been stronger.”
Florence is a survivor. She fought breast cancer like a great warrior. During the grimmest time of her life when the body was revolting from within she did not let her soul wither. I had always known her to be a woman of substance: nurturing, positive and always laughing. They say true personality awakens in times of great distress. Florence never changed. She started a personal blog in mid-August 2011, shortly after she started her chemotherapy, called The Perks of Having Cancer: Follow Florence’s Challenge to Find 100 Perks of Having Cancer.
“Perks of Cancer” – only Florence would think and accomplish something such as that. It was as if she looked Satan in the eye, laughed one of her hearty laughs, and said, “You must be kidding. ME? You think you can fight me? You can fight my body but not my soul. You can try but just don’t be disappointed, because I will fight back; and while I’m at it I will teach the world how to laugh at you”.
Her blog is truly inspirational, not only for those who are battling cancer or a terminal disease, but also has the ability to inspire anyone whose soul needs a lift, myself included. Florence proves that finding one hundred reasons to live life to the fullest in the face of death may be a hard thing to do, but it can be done because it is possible. So when my mind gets bogged down, I remind myself to keep my soul free.
I adore her courage, her strength, and most importantly her beautiful mind. I wanted her to know how important her ‘100 Perks’ are for me. The rain-beaten pink rose petals underneath the bush also reminded me of Florence and her love for flowers. The beautiful rose can be beaten down by the elements, but its scent will remain to sooth and calm the mortals.
Rose petals were collected and symbolically counted to one hundred so I could put them in a little jar as a small token of appreciation for her beautiful words of inspiration. It has also been decorated with the symbolic little “pink ribbon”. I have not told her yet, so when she reads this little blog post she will know that there is a little jar of Pink Rose Jelly waiting as an offering for her.
I wish I could make pink rose jelly for all the brave warriors and survivors out there (perhaps an idea for a fundraising project in the future). The rose jelly is a joy to make. It fills the house with the therapeutic aroma of the sweet wild rose – while preparing it you may feel like you are preparing a magic potion. That is how I felt. The taste is sweet, slightly tart, and beautifully fragrant. Everything about, from the collection of rose petals to eating the sweet condiment, is like LIFE!
Pink Rose Jelly (I also call it the Magic Potion)
YOU NEED: (makes 3, 250ml jars)
- Rose Petals (Pink or any other color): 1 and a half cup packed
- Water: 2 cups
- Sugar: 3 cups
- Lemon Juice: 2 tablespoons
- Liquid pectin: 3oz
- Clove: 3 (optional)
- When you select your rose make sure it is organic so that there is no trace of pesticides. It is also important to select the most aromatic ones. I collected home grown wild rose petals. Discard all brown and damaged petals.
- Wash the petals thoroughly. I tripled washed them.
- In an air tight container mix the rose petals with 1 cup of sugar. Mix and slightly bruise the petals. Store in the container in the fridge over night.
- Put bruised petals and sugar in a pan along with the rest of the sugar, 2 cups water and the cloves if using and bring it to boil. Boil for a minute or two, stirring a few times.
- The water at this point may turn murky in color but as soon as the lemon juice is added it will magically become a jewel toned pink.
- If you don’t want to keep the petals discard them now. Then boil for a minute.
- Add the liquid pectin and let the mixture come to a hard boil for about minute or two.
- Take off heat and pour in your jars.
- Enjoy on toast, cakes, and biscuit, with yogurt or anything that needs a little soul lifting!
This beautiful “tribute” could not have come at a better time…I was having such a “Shitty” day, and then I saw this and it totally cheered me up! Hey, if I can look Satan in the eye and laugh, I am not going to sweat the small stuff. Thanks, Deb! Loves ya!
You can do anything Florence, anything! You also have to get the little jar that has been waiting for you.
I absolutely love this story. What an amazing tribute to your friend you have here. So beautiful and your recipe is perfect. No doubt Florence will be moved by the sentiment.
Now I’m not only in love with the incredible flowers but your jelly too 🙂
Thank you much!
The jelly is as beautiful as the flower. Making it was complete therapy. The house needs no candles when you make rose jelly. I made it at night after my little one went to sleep and the next morning the house was still smelling like roses.
This is such a beautiful post! Your friend is a fighter! An inspiration to many..
I know that feeling of “what if…” that encompasses when it concerns our children and It crosses my mind many a times… It’s a horrible feeling.. Makes me weak sometimes..
You know, I thought twice before writing about ‘that feeling’, as if, if I wrote it down it will become real. It also makes me think about my mother’s feelings for me.
Your friend is an inspiration…as are you, Miss Debjani. Thank you for sharing about “that feeling”….Your honesty has helped the rest of us Mammy’s realize we are not alone in our moments of vulnerability. Much love Sweetie. x
Thank you for saying so. 🙂
Sometimes when visiting blogs, I see one that has had so much “extra” put into it. This is one of those posts.. from the creative photos, the tribute to a warrior-friend, and finally a gorgeously decorated jar of home-made pink ❤ jelly… I'm so in love with this post today on so many levels. Your friend will have tears of joy, no doubt! xo Smidge
Thank you so much. Sometimes talking about just one thing isn’t enough when everything that leads up to it is as important. My friend did have tears she said. Her words have often brought tears to my eyes. I think we all need to let those who inspire us know how beautiful and worthwhile their words are. I am glad you liked what I had to say. I have made several batches of the rose jelly since and each time the importance of this blog post stayed close to my heart.
I know people eat rose petals and you can buy those edible petals too but I never .. never had it. I remember reading her blog .. very very inspirational!
I still find it hard to eat flowers in salads except for chives, which are really small. Eating flowers reminds me of cows and goats and the like. Rose doesn’t really have much of a flavor but the fragrance is to be experienced while eating. Try making a jar of this, you’ll be hooked. There is something about the process of making this jelly. I am sure to work with roses again.
Thank you! 🙂
Such a beautiful post and lovely gesture. It’s friends like you that make cancer more bearable.
Thanks Andy! She is an inspiration.
i totally fine love in the poetry, in the prose, in the pictures, and in the comments – what a beautiful post.
David in Maine USA
Thank you David.
This is absolutely beautiful!
I hope you don’t mind if I post this link on my reblog tastings page?
Won’t mind at all, instead, i’m so glad you liked it! Thank you! 🙂
My pleasure! Thank you!
What an inspiration! The Rose Pedal Jam looks amazing. You are a wonderful writer!