It is hard for me to think of anything other than the suffering families in Newton, CT. I feel their pain. We lost our son Bob seven years ago in December, and it still hurts. Bob would have been 50 this year, but his life stopped at 43 when he took his own life with a gun. All I can say is that the pain of loss lessens with time and we heal. But as far as I can see, a parent never gets over losing a child, whether that person was an adult or a child.
My Grandmother Lucy Wilson lost three of her six children before she died, all as adults. My Uncle Bob Wilson died at 33, my Grandpa Wilson at 39, and my Dad at 52. My way of coping with the loss of my son was to recognize that, for whatever reason, the Wilson men tended to die prematurely.
My other coping mechanism was to turn to my yard and garden. The first two years, everything that I planted died because I just couldn’t take care of my garden. I was still grieving too much. Then, five years ago, I took out non-food-producing trees and put in fruit trees. I planted spring bulbs. I built raised beds for vegetables. Eventually, I got chickens. There is vibrant life in my yard now.
But I also let our infrastructure fall into disrepair, and let dirt and stuff accumulate in the house.
Every year December rolls around and is a new beginning for me. This December, we are getting the deck repaired. We have replaced and updated the fixtures in the guest bath. And we have hired a cleaning service to clean our house top to bottom. Every week, our lives are getting better. But during this healing and rejuvenation process–and it is a process–chaos reigns.
The construction guys were able to use some of the redwood boards that I salvaged from the raised beds at the community garden that had to be ripped out when Southern California Edison disallowed raised beds there. I see that I haven’t taken any pictures with the new boards in place. Oh well. It’s raining out.
And that’s why the job isn’t finished. The deck has to be pressure washed, maybe sanded, then sealed and stained. This will require several days of dry weather. We are now in our rainy season. So who knows when that job will be finished. Meanwhile, my potted plants sit in my raised beds and everywhere else in back.
On to the guest bathroom remodel.
That project also ran into issues and isn’t finished. At least the new 1.28 gallon/flush toilet is installed. (Not shown.) I don’t have the after pictures because it really isn’t “after” until the job is done.
And in the midst of construction chaos, the cleaning crew has been here two weeks in a row, trying to turn our pigsty of a home into something cleaner, more organized, and more habitable. I barely have time to get my stuff picked up before they are here to clean again. Little by little, our lives improve.
The sadness that the events at Sandy Hook school have caused ripples far beyond the borders of Newton, far beyond the borders of Connecticut, and far beyond the borders of our nation. I don’t know what the solution to this madness is, but surely we must start talking about better gun control, and a better way of dealing with the mentally ill.
Meanwhile, those of us still living must go on. We must cope with adversity, and with the frequent reminders of our losses. My garden helps heal my soul. I love to grow food and find beauty in my garden. I celebrate life.
Here is my harvest for this week.
Harvest for week ending December 17, 2012
4 oz Lemon, Meyer
1 lb 7 oz Limes
SUBTOTAL FRUIT 1 lb 11 oz
2 lb 4 oz Beets
1 oz Parsley
SUBTOTAL VEGETABLES 2 lbs 5 oz
TOTAL 4 lbs PRODUCE and 3 eggs
If you had a harvest, or to see what others are harvesting, visit Daphne’s Dandelions.
I have been dealing with unexpected loss recently and totally understand when you say your garden helps with the healing. I too spend many hours outdoors and as a result the indoors get neglected. I am hoping to find a balance in the coming new year.
Sending best wishes your way!
Norma, here is to balance!
I use my garden as therapy too. I really miss it over the winter.
Daphne, I have no excuse, like snow and frozen ground, to stop gardening over the winter. It is year round therapy.
You have done an amazing job of self healing and therapy. Well done, and keep at it. The deck replacement and bathroom remodel is going to be like a shot of new energy. It’s amazing how those things just ripple through the rest of our living area and lives. Even though the old deck was looking rough though, I have to say it was a very rustic and inviting space you have created.
Kitsapfg, thanks. I hope to eventually get my deck back into shape. We have to wait until dry weather to seal it. Then I will need to put the plants back with something under them so they don’t rot the deck again.
I hear you loud and clear Lou. Gardening has always been a way for me to find peace. I hope we all find healing in the weeks and years to come.
Amen to that, Dave. I hope you enjoy your new expanded garden space.
Thank you for sharing this very personal aspect of your life, it’s something we all can relate to… December is a perfect time for renewal, especially after a 7-year cycle. Looks like you’ll be ready to embrace the New Year!
Leduesorelle, seven years is an important number in a lot of cultures. I look forward to moving into the future with a better house and garden both. And even better mental health too. Yay to garden therapy.
I am happy to hear you are finding peace and renewal in your lovely gardens. I suspect the bathroom reno and cleaning services will also really help with a feeling of renewal and peace.
We just hosted Christmas dinner, which forced a giant housecleaning. It was painful, but I love the feeling of a clean, tidy house. It isn’t until after it is clean and tidy that I realize the subtle stress the messiness caused me — I feel so much happier with the house clean! I hope you feel the same as things improve. Best wishes for health, happiness and great gardening in the new year!