Monday, June 21, 2010

Rest in Peace, Nick Hodgins - 10/14/91 - 6/10/10

As you know, I specialize in wedding and event flowers.  Significant life events are times when "saying it with flowers" seems the only fitting language.

This past week, my creative energy went toward designing memorial flowers for a unique and wonderful young man.

For those of you unfamiliar with this story, on the night of June 9th, Nick Hodgins and his two best friends, Derek King and Anthony Beaver, were making their way home to Federal Way from a senior class celebration activity.

While stopped on I-5 due to car trouble, a drunk driver crashed his SUV into Anthony's car, instantly killing Derek, and injuring the other two friends.  Nick's injuries proved fatal, and he passed away at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle the next day.  Anthony will recover physically.

When I learned about this, my heart hurt for the boys, the moms and the families.  We used to live in that area and I thought-- "I know people who know them."  Sure enough, my friend Dawn knew Nick's mom, Mary, who'd been the daycare provider for her little boy. 

Dawn asked me to create a bouquet for Mary.  For their peacefulness, I selected all white flowers in a clear vase with green marbles, and added a couple of soft, sage green fluffs of feathers wired onto little branches, in the center of the bouquet.  I sent the bouquet off with Dawn, along with a prayer and my card, which says, "exquisite wedding & event flowers, sensibly priced."

The next Wednesday I got a call from Nick's sister.  "Do you do funeral flowers?  My brother died..."

Mom, sister, and sister's best friend came to my farmhouse to talk about Nick, the upcoming services, and what flowers they needed and wanted.  My job is always to listen, interpret, and offer ideas, options and solutions, using flowers, of course, and also logistics.

My philosophy for memorial flowers (I call them "Tribute Flowers") is this -- Between all of the incredible flowers and botanical elements God created, and the artistic inspiration He gives, when guests look at memorial flowers, they ought to be able to "see" the person those flowers represent.  If not, then the flowers are not a tribute, just a decoration.  Here are some images of pieces I created for Nick Hodgins. Thank you to Maida Romaine for your behind-the-scenes help.
These are Nick's favorite shoes-- Always thrifty & practical, he rarely asked for new shoes, instead wore out each pair.  My son Ian thought that the Pac-Man drawings were really "cool."  Planted into the shoes are a Prayer plant, a Turtle plant, some Chinese millet, grasses, a few mini calla lilies and a Black Baccara rose.  Oh, and a duck feather, because ducks always appear happy, no matter what's going on under the surface of the water.

(Above) Casket Spray, with lots of red flowers of many varieties, from tropical to domestic, and strong, masculine-looking foliage. Did you know that tulips keep growing after you arrange them?

Mary, Nick's Mom, wanted a garland of red flowers to be affixed to the inside of the open casket lid, so there would be some flowers near Nick during the viewing.  I used some of the same materials as in the casket spry, and added deep burgundy miniature calla lilies, because they're Mary's favorite flower.

(Below)  The foyer of Bonney-Watson Funeral Home in Federal Way, filled with photos to autograph, a huge poster with thoughts of love, Nick's portrait, the "planted" shoes, and 36-inch tall white floral tribute cross. 

Many of Nick's favorite things surrounded him at the viewing-- his skates and floor hocky uniform & gear, the Decatur graduation cap & gown he had earned the right to wear, and his guitars and amp.

Mark Twain wrote in Puddnhead Wilson, "Let us endeavor to live in such a way that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry."  
As his Mom, Mary Bobbit tells me, Nick Hodgins -- with kindness, gentleness, tolerance, and good humor -- genuinely cared about people. He lived life as the kind of soul who never had a bad thing to say about anyone. This is the life of no regrets.
(Below) The stage in Decatur High School's auditorium, where people gathered to celebrate Nick Hodgins' life, on Saturday, June 19th, 2010.