Emma Ruth Pillars loved flowers. We know because her tombstone says so and because three years after she died, her husband donated the Emma Pillars Garden of Memory to Fostoria Fountain Cemetery so that she could rest forever with the flowers and trees she had loved in life.
It’s almost overwhelming how much love is bundled up in that little three word epitaph, “she loved flowers.” It is the kind of thing that you say when you are trying to convey the utter internal devastation you feel at a loved one’s death to someone who didn’t know them. How do you explain a life? How do you explain a person? How do you explain the hundreds or thousands of little moments that pile up into something coherent, into the bond you had? You can’t. I could write about my grandmother and everything I can remember about her every day for the rest of my life on this blog, but in the end, you wouldn’t know her. You would know some things about her, but the sinews that stitched my heart to hers from the moment I was born until the day she died overwhelm any words I have ever learned. And so, when you are Edward Ralph Pillars, a widower of a woman who enjoyed flowers more than nearly anything else in the world, you want to leave a monument that provides a glimpse of your love and devotion to her. And so you build her a garden with her name on it and, when you try to find the words that communicate your sense of loss, you fall back on the simple statement “she loved flowers.”