Rose Blossom

Greenwood Cemetery, Phoenix, Arizona

Greenwood Cemetery, Phoenix, Arizona

The monument for the Beck family in the Greenwood Cemetery, at Phoenix, Arizona, has atop it a young female figure. Her head is bent forward, she is looking down in reflection and sorrow, while she is holding a rose bloom in one hand and clutching a floral wreath in the other. This is a common Victorian funerary symbol expressing the transitory nature of life.

The rose is a secular symbol for love and beauty but is also associated with the Virgin Mary—the rose without thorns. The rose, however, can also connote age. A rose bud, generally found on a child’s grave, represents the life that has yet to bloom. Often, in that case the bud will be on a broken stem indicating that the life was cut short. A partial bloom on the rose would indicate an older child, such as a teenager, while a full bloom, as we have here indicates the life of someone who has reached maturity. In this case, Mary Beck, who lived from 1825 to 1912, and Ira Beck, who lived from 1861 to 1940, lived long lives indicative of the full blossom on the rose that the statue holds.

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