the top part of a decorative image showing garden flowers.

Memorial Services by Pauline Runkle

Being asked to create flowers for a Memorial Service is a great privilege of my life as a floral artist. Throughout my career my goal and personal joy has been to understand the spirit and intent of my clients. I feel incredibly fortunate that these clients have stayed connected to me as friends throughout tens of years. The relationship often beginning with a request for wedding flowers or an anniversary celebration and continuing as Memorial Remembrances.

Recently a woman called from NYC. Her mother, who was a treasure client and friend, had passed away. She then went on to say that I had done the flowers for her sister’s wedding, which I remembered with great happiness. However, the best part was when she said, her mother wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to do her flowers but me. This is the reward from creating meaningful connections. Those are the connections that make a life worth living.

Many years ago I did the Memorial Service for Michael Rice, the general manager and VP of WGBH in Boston from 1965 to 1978. During his leadership great programing was born: “Nova,” “The Advocates,” “The Nader Report,” “Evening at Symphony With the Boston Symphony Orchestra” and “Evening at Pops With the Boston Pops.”

Years later, I was asked to work of WGBH under the Boston Pop’s conductor John Williams at Symphony Hall in Boston. Here I redesigned the stage for his National Broadcasts and local productions until he retired.

However, more importantly, when Michael’s partner came to the President’s home at Harvard University, where I had prepared the flowers of the Memorial service, he said, "Pauline, how did you know how much Michael loved hydrangeas? Your flowers capture his spirit.”

I was very moved then and began to understand the true value of beautiful and heart centered floral creations for the remembrances of those we love. That day has always stayed with me and motivates me today when my services are requested.

This summer I was asked to collect flowers from the garden of a beautiful woman whose life was being celebrated by her family and friends. I wove her flowers into her Memorial bouquets and became an expression of her personal journey as a nurturer of her garden and her passion for flowers.

Receiving the wishes of a family in grief is an honor that I cherish and am deeply grateful to receive. There is a connection through the beauty of flowers to the life of another that is a solemn pack.