Autumn Morning Sunrise

Reflecting on ‘Supermarket Flowers’

Today I went on a very short morning walk, in the cold crisp air (it’s Autumn), with the sunlight just breaking through from behind the clouds. It was kind of the best weather for reflecting, y’know? Cold enough to set your mind racing and your legs moving, but not so cold you can’t focus your thoughts, and there’s a certain romance to seeing even the most empty and unfeeling of objects, like a block of flats falling into disrepair, being lit by speckles of gold. Anyhow, I found my Spotify (I am a millenial, after all, if that wasn’t clear from my unnecessary analysis of most day-to-day experiences, and pitiful reliance on tehcnology – and self deprecating nature) leading me to ‘Supermarket Flowers’ by Ed Sheeran.

And I found myself bursting into tears. So I put it on repeat, and I cried some more. And then I reflected.
Why was I crying?
Why do I suddenly feel both so in love with the world and so desperate to die?
I didn’t know what I wanted to write for one of my first blog posts, but this seemed as good as anything.

(Analysing the lyrics time!)

(For reference, if you aren’t familiar with the song, it was written from the point of view of Ed’s mother, about his dying grandmother. It speaks of a life that’s been lived and someone spreading their wings and being taken back by God. You can listen to it here.)

Verse 1: I took the supermarket flowers from the windowsill
I threw the day old tea from the cup
Packed up the photo album Matthew had made
Memories of a life that’s been loved
Took the get well soon cards and stuffed animals
Poured the old ginger beer down the sink
Dad always told me, “Don’t you cry when you’re down”
But mum, there’s a tear every time that I blink

This verse describes Ed’s mum gathering things on her way to the hospital, and the imagery of the everyday juxtaposed with the raw emotion is..intensely powerful. For me, much of the scene, like ‘get well soon cards’ and ‘stuffed animals’ remind me of gifts from many hospital admissions, and the ‘life that’s been loved’ makes me feel so…blessed. My life has been touched by so many people, and I think what makes this so painful is the sad reality that I feel I can not repay them for their kindness. I cannot seem to do one thing they ask of me – to ‘get better’, whatever that means – and I fundamentally do not feel I could ever truly be worthy of the beauty of their souls. I genuinely believe that every single person I have encountered has something beautiful about them, and I am grateful to have come across them, even if we never really spoke.

Prechorus: Oh, I’m in pieces, it’s tearing me up, but I know
A heart that’s broke is a heart that’s been loved

The prechorus takes Ed’s mother, who is crying, but reminds us that for her to feel so affected by her mother’s passing, must mean they loved eachother very much. For me I suppose I consider here the thought of ending my life. I find myself frequently in a dilemma of wanting to relieve everyone around me of the burden of my existence, but knowing the pain I have been told my death would bring them. I consider too the pain of seeing me each day, carrying out my routines, and being unable to fathom why I struggle so much to change. Explaining the complexities of my brain is…a challenge, and even I am not always able to unerstand everything.

Chorus: So I’ll sing Hallelujah
You were an angel in the shape of my mum
When I fell down you’d be there holding me up
Spread your wings as you go
When God takes you back he’ll say, “Hallelujah”
You’re home

In the chorus, there is a feeling of acceptance, as Ed’s mum thinks about how death will bring her mother peace, and how she knows that, because her mum was a good person, her mum will be welcomed into heaven.
The words used here resonate very strongly with me; in particular, the last two, ‘You’re home’. When I have felt cold inside, and lost in myself, I always ask ‘to go home’, because to me home is the feeling of comfort, and safety, and that is not tied to one specific time or place. It may be in my mothers’ arms, or in the memories of when I met my first love, or in the pages of my favourite book. In these experiences I find peace, and escape, but I also fear that I use these experiences to hide from reality. And then I wonder about the peace death could bring. Since my sexual abuse, I have got used to the endless feeling of being dirty, and cold, and impure. Along with my numerous admissions and the years of pain I have put everyone around me through, I seem to long more and more to finally bring some peace to my life. I wonder if this can ever be achieved in reality.
Also, the word ‘hallelujah’ just makes you feel blessed, doesn’t it? It makes me think of how glorious the world really is (or how out of place and undeserving I am, within it?) – I guess it’s the connotations.

Verse 2: I fluffed the pillows, made the beds, stacked the chairs up
Folded your nightgowns neatly in a case
John says he’d drive then put his hand on my cheek
And wiped a tear from the side of my face

I am again reminded of hospital admissions, from words like ‘nightgown’ and imagery of pillows being ‘fluffed’. I’m reminded of the care I have recieved, and the love of others, and how it hurts them to see me struggling with life.

Prechorus: I hope that I see the world as you did ’cause I know
A life with love is a life that’s been lived

In these lines I feel two different things: both hope and determination to try and change my life for the better, and also a deep sadness. My family and friends have often tried to see the world as I see it, and this seems impossible..but the second line makes me want to try and live. To break free, and to be happy. Or to at least try.

Outro (yes – I’m nearly finished!): “Hallelujah
You were an angel in the shape of my mum
You got to see the person I have become
Spread your wings and I know
That when God took you back he said, “Hallelujah
You’re home”

Finally, the last chorus adds in a line about seeing ‘the person I have become’. And it is in these words I feel a final push to try. To at least keep trying, and to make some difference to the world and people around me. To touch them with some kind of beauty.

(This was very long, and perhaps a little depressing, particularly for, as I’ve mentioned, one of my first few posts, but it was how I was feeling today, and this blog is about my thoughts, so I’m writing it regardless. I don’t know exactly what I want you to take from this, but I’ll provide a little summary of what I took, at least, and maybe that will make you think a bit about your own life and how you navigate it. Or maybe it won’t, but that’s also okay!)

My take-aways:

  1. The world really is a beautiful place, and there are so many beautiful people within it. Please, take the time to appreciate it. Thank people. Be grateful. Give people compliments when they deserve it. I mean it – ignore social etiquette. People should know how beautiful they are and how loved they are, and that includes the man at the supermarket who smiled when he had to go ‘out the back’ to get you a newly released cereal box last week.
  2. Remember your own worth. When I said the world is beautiful, and that people are beautiful..that includes you. Don’t ever forget you have so much worth, and so much about you that makes you special. I don’t care if you don’t work, or if you have no qualifications, or if you can’t fit into your jeans anymore. You are enough. More than.
  3. Consider your homes. Consider what makes you happy. Surround yourself with that. Thinking about point number two in particular – you have nothing to prove, and when your life does come to an end, no one will be thinking about how you should’ve gone to x university or how you failed you got an E in one of your A levels. And even if they did – who cares? I feel sure that the people of any importance in your life will just be remembering all that is beautiful about you.
  4. Lastly: you need to try. Please. Don’t give up yet. I’m now rocking my head to another, irritatingly modern, song – ‘Give yourself a try’ by The 1975 – but focus, Saffron, focus, don’t get distracted again – the point is to keep on going. Even if it’s just for now. Your life is yours for the making, for the living, for the experiencing, and you have to just give it a chance.

I’m going to try make more changes and work harder to restore my health, and to do the things Saffron wants to do, even if that means temporary judgement from others.
I believe the millenial terms would be something like ‘YOLO’, and that my friend Vera would say something along the lines of ‘fuck the world’, but anyway – let’s see how that goes.

4 thoughts on “Reflecting on ‘Supermarket Flowers’

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