Ashley Wait

Healing Grief Through Repurposed Flowers

September 5, 2021 | Written by

My name is Ashley Wait. I am originally from Grand Forks and moved to Fargo 8 years ago. I am currently a lead volunteer at Hope Blooms, and I want share with you how this organization has impacted my life.
Last name and date of birth?
KUNTZ 10-13-55.
Ashley Wait and her father

Ashley Wait and her father Thomas.

I heard those numbers, what felt like 10 million times, the last two months he was alive. 6:30 a.m. on Thursday November 15, 2018, my father took his last breaths as I sat by his side. He was not only my father, he was an amazing husband, a brother, the best boss many people had had, a best friend to so many people, and most importantly – he was my rock.

That day the world was falling apart around me, but I was the strong one. I made all the calls to family, the funeral home, ordered an urn in his favorite color and picked out the most beautiful flowers. I even prepared a eulogy, but it felt empty – like I couldn’t find the correct words to say to honor a man that meant so much to me.

This is where my Hope Blooms journey begins. We hand picked the perfect floral arrangement to accompany him that day. I knew I wanted those flowers to make an impact and last so much longer than that one day. I had previously heard of Hope Blooms on Facebook and casually followed their mission. I reached out to Hope Blooms to see if they could help me heal in a way I knew I needed.

I packed up all the flowers from the church in Grand Forks and drove them to the studio here in Fargo. Hope Blooms took me and the flowers in with open arms that day. They were able to line up a donation at Vibra Hospital on the 7th floor of Sanford. Vibra is a long-term care facility for patients recovering from major surgeries, extended hospital care and end of life. It was there where my father passed.

With the help of a close friend, we assembled 40 bouquets to be delivered to each patient at Vibra. I entered those halls full of grief and looking for some sign of my father. I entered the first room with a bouquet, and meekly said “Here is a flower bouquet in honor of my father who recently passed.” I was a wreck. I made it through room after room, bringing so much joy to people, while hiding my own heavy heart.

Room 727 was the one I had been preparing for. The patient had visitors. I entered confidently and recited the same sentence. “Here is a bouquet of flowers in honor of my father who recently passed.” I left that room completely broken. That day my world fell apart, but it had to for me to find a new normal.

I made it through each and every room. I was finally feeling a sense of calm and peace. I felt like my dad walked those halls with me that day. I found the therapy I was looking for. Hope Blooms spread joy and made an impact that day in a way I never thought possible.

From there I have volunteered as my busy schedule would allow. I even got to bring bouquets to a few nursing home residents in town. Now, as a lead volunteer at Hope Blooms, I get to help others spread joy and feel a sense of therapy at each volunteer event!

Hope Blooms mission is simple: Spread joy, which has an incredible impact in our community, including the lives of volunteers.

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