In today’s Reflections blog, contributor John Mlynar shares his personal experiences on the impact of flowers at his dad’s funeral.

My phone rang at my office on a December morning like it often did on a Tuesday. The caller was my sister-in-law, Marie, who gave me some awful news: my dad had passed away.

It was a terrible shock. He was only 57, and while he had some minor health issues, there was nothing to indicate that he wouldn’t be able to enjoy his golden years, see his grandchildren, and be part of my life for years to come.  It wasn’t to be.

I flew from California to Connecticut to meet my family and make funeral arrangements. Unfortunately, Dad didn’t  pre-plan his funeral, so we did what we thought was best under the stress and strain of grieving.

We eventually chose a funeral home and held a traditional service for Dad. I remember the first time I saw him at the viewing; he looked at peace. The cosmetician did wonderful work presenting my dad as we all remembered him. Friends and family stopped by to offer their condolences and to support us in any way they could.

As I was sitting in the visitation room, I was amazed by all the flowers that people had sent. I was moved by the thoughtfulness and kindness of so many. I looked at the arrangements and read the thoughtful note cards on each one of  them.

Then I came to the yellow flowers.

They were part of an arrangement that was placed on the right side of the casket. Nothing too big, nothing too fancy. Just a very nice arrangement of yellow flowers.

To this day I can’t tell you what kind of flowers they were. But I can tell you this: they were yellow and they came from my childhood friend Kevin who was living in Oklahoma. He couldn’t make the funeral, nor did I expect him to. His simple note telling me he was sorry for my loss meant all the world to me.  The thoughtfulness of my friend thinking of me with flowers and a note at a time when I really needed it left a profound impact even to this day.

Without fail, every time I see yellow flowers, I think of my dad. It doesn’t matter if they are daisies or sunflowers or any other yellow flower.

In life, I have a lot of colors for different reasons. Green for shirts. Red for gym shorts. Black for my shoes and cars. Blue for just about everything. But when it comes to flowers, I love the yellow ones. They’re the ones that remind me of dad.