Encouragement (for Life as well as the Garden)

Leaning on an Established Habit

Over the past few months the question asked of me the most is “How are you doing?”.  I never know quite how to answer that.

You, who have come to know me over the past 7 years, know that Bill was so much a part of me I hardly know/knew where he stopped and I started. As far as I’m concerned my life started when we were married (now almost 52 years ago). And when Bill died — what I call my real life — ended.

Not that I don’t have things to do and accomplish. I do. And I’ll get there.

I realize I’ve been blessed with this time for a reason and I plan to make the most of it and offer as much value to others as I can; especially through my writing.

But as all who have lost someone so much a part of them know, this year has not been easy.

Under a Dark Shadow

Grief for Bill cast a dark shadow over my life.

Exhaustion became the norm. Simple things turned into all day tasks. Anything that required concentration, I just couldn’t do and didn’t want to do. Sleep is erratic at best.

At times it’s been like living in a dream where I’m not part of things, but only a spectator.

It was reassuring to read an article recently that listed all of the above as symptoms of grief; symptoms that can intensify and linger in direct proportion to how close you were to the person you lost.

The article explained that these symptoms can be nature’s way of slowing us down and giving us time to heal.

Self Talk (Inner Dialogue)

Our greatest enemy can be what we tell ourselves over and over on a day to day, minute to minute basis — our inner dialogue.

The greatest battle within that I’m fighting is keeping my mind off the horrible part of what Bill and I experienced the last year of his life.

A Long Established Habit

In spite of the ocean of tears, the heart breaking feelings of grief, and all the other symptoms that accompany a loss of someone so dear, I continue the habit that Bill and I established in our lives years ago. And that is to walk in the direction I want to go — even if it only involves taking baby steps in that direction.

Focus Determines Outcome

Bill and I learned years ago that no matter how bad a situation is, focusing on the negative doesn’t bring anything positive. And some times — since we’re human — focusing on the negative is just what we want to do!

But things only get better when we look for and find the positives that are there and make those our focus. In most every case, our focus will determine our outcome — be it negative or positive.

Final Thoughts

One of the things I do when I need encouragement is to go back and read the personal emails you’ve sent and the wonderful comments of love and concern that you’ve left on posts telling about Bill.  As I’ve told you before, I hold you dear and have been lifted by your words.

The past two weeks I’ve seen a good bit of improvement in myself.  I hope that at least by the end of the year I will be writing more posts, more books, and offering suggestions to help make you even more successful in your gardens.


Related Posts:

The Battle Within

Gardening and Life in General /Walking in the Direction You Want to Go

Choose Your Path Carefully

Victory/Success – It’s an Inside Job and Only You Can Do it


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  • Thank you, Theresa, for staying the course in spite of everything you have been through. “Walk in the direction you want to go” is the way for us all to realize our dreams, even though baby steps must be taken. You have been a beacon for many! Love and hugs!

  • Thank you for being vulnerable with us, Theresa. You have so many readers and as you know most will just read and enjoy your posts without ever commenting. You never know who might be reading that will benefit from hearing about your struggle with grief and how you are dealing with it. One thing that really engages me about this blog is that there is a real person behind it. Thanks again.

  • Theresa, thanks for your words. Having a bit of personal crisis here too. Will heed your wise words of focusing on positive instead of negative. Glad to hear you’re feeling a bit better.

  • Theresa, I appreciate your ability to write about something so personal to your heart! This in itself is probably somewhat healing to you but at the same time such an inspiration to others who might be experiencing heartache in some form. I have been so touched in hearing of the deep love you and Bill had for each other. This richness of love and life encourages me to celebrate life as you have done and are currently doing while grieving. I would like to encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing – combating negative thoughts with positive ones!
    I have benefited greatly from your love of keeping gardening simple. Thank you again for passing your experiences on to us!

  • Oh, Theresa,

    You are inspiring…not afraid to share your vulnerabilities, yet willing to “walk in the direction you want to go”. Baby steps are one of the lessons I have had to learn, being an “all or nothing at all” kind of gal. My dear husband, John encouraged me to try taking baby steps, one at a time, and over the years I have found that to be a bedrock concept.

    You are in our thoughts and prayers as you walk this new path.

    Green blessings


  • Theresa,

    Thank you for sharing your pain; your post is a good reminder to me to keep reaching out to neighbors and friends long after they’ve suffered a loss.

  • Theresa –
    I wanted to post something helpful and full of love. In scrolling down to do so, i first read the comments and everyone said it so eloquently that I have no words left. I just have love, deep respect, gratitude, appreciation, and so much comfort FROM you and for you. Thank you so much for each and every blog post.

  • Wow, just plain wow. Your post was so honest. My neighbor lost her husband just two weeks ago. He was hit by a drunk driver almost eleven years ago and for a decade she had to wake up every two hours during the night to attend to him. Chris was a beautiful man with an inner light and you would forget he was a quadriplegic because he was so graceful and kind. It’s so good to hear of these lovely men who’ve made such a difference in the world. (Not to mention the women who’ve cared for them)

  • Hi Theresa,
    Thank you for your post. I really appreciate your thoughts and wisdom. This past year one of my favorite thoughts has been “never underestimate the power of a little”. Now you have given me a new one with “walk in the direction I want to go”. I’m such a runner! Running before I even look where I am going. I know this is a little bit of a different twist from what you are implying, but it works both ways. Whether you are struggling to take that first step or need to slow down to take the right step. Keep sharing, I love all of your posts!- Candice

  • I so appreciate your openness & honesty as you go through such deep sorrow.

    You’ve been such a Blessing in my life. I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am in my garden without your help & encouragement.

    My main problem is trying to accomplish too much at once & getting discouraged when I don’t succeed. Also, Alfred has been suffering severe arthritis pain & hasn’t been able to help with the heavy digging needed to get through the heavy clay & rock ledge to get the depth we need for new beds.

    I depend on my grandsons helping when they’re not in school.

    As I’ve aged & am also suffering arthritic pain in one knee & both hands, I’ve determined to give myself the permission to stop before I finish what I THINK I should have accomplished.

    Thank you so much for all you do. I’m always excited when I find a new post here. I’m looking forward to your next book. As long as it’s not about onions (I’m allergic) I’ll certainly want my own copy.

    God Bless You,

  • My dearest gardening friend, you are fulfilling your purpose in life exactly as it is meant to be. Continue to walk in faith and the time needed to heal will happen. Thank you for being a part of my life.

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