Flowers Fit for a Funeral!

Growing up, I often heard older people say, “Give me my flowers while I can still smell them.” Many times, this was said after they had attended a funeral and left the funeral wondering whether the deceased had been told before he/she died all of the wonderful things that were said at the funeral.

White coffin with pink sympathy flowers

This past weekend I saw a great example of flowers being given to a person while she was still alive to smell them, and that quote from the older people came alive for me like it never has before.

I traveled to Greenville, SC to attend a recognition brunch for my college suite mate, Dr. Idella Glenn who has spent more than 23 years working in higher education, with the last 18 years at Furman University. She is leaving her role as Assistant Vice President for Student Development to begin a new position at Virginia Commonwealth University.

As I sat and listened to all of the accolades that were bestowed upon Idella, it was obvious that she has lived and left an amazing legacy. Speaker after speaker raved about the impact she has had on their lives. Tears began flowing during the welcome and continued throughout the entire program. It was one of the most moving experiences I have witnessed in a very long time.

I called Idella Sunday morning and jokingly mentioned that I felt like I had attended her funeral the day before and the best part about it was she was alive to hear what people said. What if, before we died, we were all blessed to hear all of the wonderful things people would say about us at our funerals?

Ever since Saturday’s event, I have been thinking of people who have impacted my life in a positive way, yet may have no idea how much they have meant to me; and I realized that I have some "flowers" to deliver.

Stop and Share the Roses!

The recognition brunch for Idella just happened to take place the day after a student shot 6 people at a high school in Marysville, Washington, leaving 3 people dead. I can imagine the scene at the school that day when parents finally met up with surviving students; parents hugging and kissing their children and telling them how much they loved and appreciated them. I can also imagine that for many of those students, they had not heard those things from their parents in a while, if ever. It is unfortunate that many children do not get to hear words of affirmation until a near-death experience happens.

Based on my experiences working with teens over the past 13 years, I believe a lack of value is at the root of much of the at-risk behavior that we see from teens. When parents communicate to their children how much they love and value them, it is much easier for them to love and value themselves. I’m convinced that we would see a very different result in teens’ behavior if more teens knew they were loved and appreciated because they heard it from parents or other adults on a regular basis.

My challenge to you is to make it a point this week to share with your children what they mean to you. Maybe even write them a note/letter so they will have something tangible to revisit at those times when they may feel down, unloved or unappreciated.

I would even challenge you to expand this beyond just your children and contact anyone else that you appreciate, regardless of age or how long it has been since you last communicated with them. Don’t wait for a near-death experience to let them know what they mean to you. Let’s inspire others to “Stop and Share the Roses” so the living will have a chance to smell them before they die.


  1. LaVelton J. Daniel says:

    You are simply amazing and as I am finnaly getting a chance to catch-up with you I do want to appreciate you for all that you do! Look forward to seeing you next month and I would appreciate your sharing some  time with us on Sunday evening at 6pm if you are available. We will have an afteroon appreciation service for missions right after church. I think that I would like to do an open forum for youths and their parents at 6pm. I saw from Carol's email that there will not be space for parents to attend the sunday school session. Please let me know what you think. I left Carol a message about this but have not had a chance to discuss it. Blessings and Thanks again for all that you do. I really tell other ministries about you. I am also hoping that you can get to my home down in Avera to minister at the schools and or church. let's talk about it!

    Much Love your Big Brother Lavelton

    • Jackie Brewton says:

      Hey Lavelton, Thank you so much for those kind words. I look forward to seeing you all as well. Unfortunately, my flight leaves at 6pm Sunday evening so I won’t be able to speak that evening. We can talk next weekend about the schools in Jefferson County. See you soon!

  2. Dave Perry says:

    Sent you a book today.  The good news about marriage, by Shaunti Feldham,  its a great  one and should encourage you with hope for your students

    Praying for you


    • Jackie Brewton says:

      Thank you Dave! I had heard of that book, but hadn’t bought it. I look foward to reading it. Thanks again for the book and for your continued prayers!

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