I don't know why, out of the countless memories of a lifetime, a few stand out and keep resurfacing all of our lives. One such memory is of my wife Velna when she was my teenage girlfriend. She was still in high school when she got a part-time job at the Campus Shop at the soda fountain and lunch counter just across from the campus. I met her there one day after she was through work and just taking off to walk home. The image I have of her is that she was wearing a skirt with sunflowers on it. Maybe it was my imagination all these years, but that is the way I remember it and so that is the way it was. What I remember is that she took off down the street, almost at a lope, on her way back home, blonde curls bouncing, in a hurry to get home. I can still see her going on her way as this memory continues to resurface over and over. And now I know that Velna has always been my sunflower. She always turned toward the light, turned toward the sun, measured her life and her blessings by the sunny side, and always weathered every storm and crisis with great courage and faith. I like to think that she is in a field of sunflowers, running and dancing and free of her years of excruciating pain that kept her a prisoner in her chair, uncomplaining and always hoping, never giving up praying for a better day, for some reduction in her pain. I don't know that anyone besides me and Velna herself will ever come close to realizing the extreme pain and lack of mobility that Velna suffered these last several years. I lived with it every hour of every day, reading the pain lines and strain marks in her face, watching her struggle to stand on her feet for even a few minutes, watching while she faced the difficult challenge of combing her hair and putting on her makeup and getting ready for the day, something she did every single day without fail no matter how much the struggle cost her and no matter how long it took her to recover from her difficult efforts. And yet she never failed to do everything she could to bolster me up, to give me courage, to thank me for all of the little small deeds I tried to faithfully do for her, to tell me that my photos were wonderful, that my blog posts were wonderful although too wordy, that I would be all right when I had a health worry. I like to think I can see her now, smiling, among the sunflowers and the beautiful gardens, blessedly free at last from her crippling and horrible pain, going at a lope as I remember her cheerful walk some 65 years ago. Dear Velna, wait for me in the sunflowers, I won't be too long in following you.