This story features Margaret Crowley of Newmarket, NH and her daughter Rose Crowley.
The Soul of a Rose
It was March 1996. In Newmarket, New Hampshire Margaret and Denise perused name books endlessly seeking the perfect one for the baby girl they were destined to adopt from China in a few months’ time. No name seemed right as they flipped the pages until suddenly something clicked with them simultaneously. Denise and Margaret each had mothers named Rose and they had adored their mothers. That was it. In homage to their wonderful mothers they would name their daughter-to-be from across the world, Rose. Once they laid eyes on the child, the name became her and it was perfect.
An accomplished young dancer, Rose grew up receiving roses from her moms after every recital or performance. Margaret always keeps a keen eye for greeting cards, stamps, and other small things that feature the flower and send them to her daughter, now a junior at Barnard College in New York City.
When Rose was very young, Margaret and Denise came across an image of the Pre-Raphaelite painting, The Soul of the Rose, by artist John William Waterhouse. They were both taken with the painting. A framed image of it hung prominently in their home. The romantic, rich painting features a winsome young woman wearing an elegant silk robe standing at a stone wall with a rose blossom tenderly drawn to her nose. Eyes closed, she wistfully, sensuously smells the flower as if trying to forever capture and hold its essence.
Cancer came and claimed Denise in 2012. As I look at the Waterhouse painting now, I think maybe I know why the image so captivated Margaret and Denise. It strikes me that the love, tenderness and reverence with which the woman in the painting holds the rose blossom beautifully mirrors the feelings Margaret, (and Denise in her time), hold for her own Rose.