I last updated you in May and by June it seemed obvious that Bill was really making a comeback.

  • He was wearing what he called people clothes after 5 months in convalescing clothes.
  • He was walking around our acre of ground 2 to 5 times daily without a walker.
  • He was walking with weights to help rebuild muscle.
  • He was eating and so enjoying the food I fixed for him.
  • He was gaining a little weight. Still thin (jeans for a size 30 waist), but looking better all the time.
  • Took on the project of straightening our garage and did a great job.
  • And although he didn’t really feel that he was able, he forced himself to do 4 small paintings sitting outside near the back steps and looking at our fence border.

In mid-August he had a set back. Not realizing it, he pushed himself a bit too hard for two days in a row and after that he started a gradual decline.

Lost the weight he had gained. More severe pain returned. Stopped eating.

By the end of September he needed my care 24/7. I’m so grateful for the strength I received to care for him and be at his side. Bill died October 3 at 6:48 PM.

We don’t  have a say in how or when we die, as we all must. But we do have a say in how we live our life.

I knew when I married Bill that he was a good man. That knowledge was confirmed more with each passing year. And yet, in the 51st year of our marriage, I came to see him as a great man.

Even when Bill had his set back, he didn’t see it as permanent. He always talked and looked towards total recovery, even 30 minutes before he died.

He kept his thoughts positive in spite of the severe pain he endured.  He never allowed me to be negative or depressed about what we were going through.

He kept a notebook of daily events and the miracles that seemed to take place on a daily basis (for which we were/are most grateful).

He thought much about others. He wrote (in that notebook) asking for blessings on almost everyone he knew or had known.

What He Decided Years Ago

No funeral. No obituary.  No doom and gloom. Only close friends have been told.

At some future date, maybe even a year, we will have an exhibit event celebrating Bill’s life.

Taking Bill’s Approach

It is a time of great sorrow for me, but I continue to take Bill’s approach and count the many blessings that have been showered down on me.  One of them is the great outpouring of concern and well wishes from loyal friends and readers of TMG.

Like Bill, I can’t do anything about death, but I can do something about my life.  I have an agenda even as I grieve.  I am already going about the tasks that need to be done regarding Bill’s life’s work which was preserving our area’s way of life in art form.

In addition I want to reach out to help and encourage you even more and write things that will be of value to you in your life and garden.

Bill and TMG

Bill loved TMG readers just about as much as I do.  He loved hearing (via your emails and comments) about your gardens and how you were using various principles (brought to your attention by TMG) to make them even better.

He told me less than a month ago, “You can’t stop writing anymore than I could stop painting, because it’s part of who you are.”

My heart’s desire is to continue TMG.  And if I’m blessed with the finances to pay the expenses involved each year, I will.

Final Thoughts

Thank you for all your emails and support during this most difficult of years. It made a difference for Bill and for me.

I ask that you celebrate your life today.  I know that’s what Bill would want.


It’s a bit blurry, but I couldn’t think of better way to end this than to show both rings that were a symbol of our union for what would have been 51 years on November 6th.


Jack (see his comment) suggested that I add a link to Bill’s site.  Here it is:

http://billmartz.com.  You can also see and hear Bill in the 2 minute video on the home page.


Related Posts:

Gardening and Life in General – Walking in the Direction you want to Go

A Welcome – A Thank You – And an Update

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

Your Focus Will Determine Your Outcome and Lifestyle


All content including photos are copyrighted by TendingMyGarden.com.  All Rights Reserved.


  • Oh Theresa. What a lovely tribute to your dear Bill. I’m so sorry to hear of his passing and send you a big hug. You are loved and cared for by many! How can we best support you during this very difficult time?

  • Dear Theresa,

    My deepest sympathy for your loss of your beloved Bill.

    Do lean on us faithful readers for support.


  • Theresa, I am so sorry for your loss. Know that you are in my prayers.

    For other readers: Donations in Bill’s memory can be made via Paypal to Theresa’s email tmartz6@verizon.net.

  • Can hardly write this, as my eyes are swimming with tears. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for your transparency. It is obvious that Bill’s life that he lived and the Lord’s help has given you strength. The Word says that His grace is sufficient, and then you see someone like yourself going through such grief, albeit triumphantly, and though I know His Word is true, then I SEE that it is really true. I will continue to pray for you. You are a blessing to me.

  • Dear Theresa,
    A lovely tribute to your precious and lifelong love, Bill. A wise man. My heart is with you. I found your site last year in the midst of my own grief after the great loss of my son who was an organic chemist. Gardening has been such a comfort and confirmation that life and love are forever. Working in and watching my garden bring forth nourishment to my soul and body has been life saving to me. I love your down to earth, simple approach and have been excited to read each post. Life is different now but I show up each day to see what it has to teach and offer and how I can honor and participate in it.

  • I too lost my precious Jack several years ago after a long illness. But I know he went home to the God who created him. I cherish his memories and his legacy of beautiful children and lives he touched profoundly.. I will hold you close in my thoughts and prayers Theresa as you walk out this time of grief for Bill. And I will ” celebrate my life today”. Thank you for sharing so beautifully.

  • Theresa, my heart goes out to you in this time of great loss. Bill sounded like a terrific man and husband, so you were so lucky to have had him for the time you did. He will always be with you in spirit and memory, everywhere you turn, and may you be comforted knowing that.

  • Theresa I am so very sorry. I can’t even imagine the wealth of memories and times well spent from almost 51 years together. I pray for your strength, and perseverance to continue with your own work, for healing and easing of the pain of loss for you. I lost my mother this past June, so I can understand a portion of what you are going through. Please continue with all the love and passion you share, we are blessed to receive it. 🙂 Love, Beth
    John 16:33

  • So sorry to hear this news, Theresa. It sounds like even a few moments spent with your Bill would have been such a gift, so 51 years is a wonderful blessing. Your posting today is a beautiful tribute to Bill. My prayers will be with you.

  • Theresa, I’m so sorry to read of your loss. It sounds like you had a marriage that engaged you heart and soul, and brought much meaning to your life. That’s a blessing in a person’s life – not always materially, but spiritually, which counts for more in the long run. The spiritual strength you have gained from that shines forth in your writing and your approach to gardening. Be gentle with yourself and with your heart as you go through grieving your loss. It often comes in waves, and I hope you can deal with it as organically as you deal with your garden. Give yourself lots of mulch – in terms of tea and love and time to be with it, and the soil will stir as the season passes. May your garden be a comfort to you. Peace.

  • I am so sorry for your loss. When I first started reading this post I thought Bill was getting better and then the news that he passed was so sad. I think he must have lived his life fully and he will be missed.
    I wonder if there is a way you could pay your expenses here by charging a small fee for your subscription. Just an idea. I wouldn’t want people to leave because they couldn’t pay though.

    I so enjoy your articles and find them very helpful.


  • God Bless You during this time and may you receive the peace that surpasses all understand. My prayers go with you.

  • Dear Theresa, I have been blessed today by your wonderfully written tribute about your sweet husband! I love what you wrote about our ability to choose how we live our life.It reminded me of a quote I’ve heard (source unknown to me) that says, “It is not joy that makes us grateful It is gratitude that makes us joyful” -sounds as if Bill made the choice to live this way!
    The picture of your hand with the rings was so touching, also. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into seeing what a great man he was.
    I’m sorry for your great loss and pray that you will continue to have comfort through your time of sorrow.
    Thanks again for sharing your gardening wisdom through the years. This contribution has helped inspire me along the way to keep my love of growing alive!

  • Dear Theresa,
    My deepest sympathy to you at the loss of your dear Bill. What a wonderful thing to have shared almost 51 years of marriage loving and supporting one another. My prayers are with you and your family in this time of loss. May the God of all comfort be very real to you in this season. Margo Hyde

  • It’s odd how in the midst of grieving, we can feel such overwhelming gratitude for having had our loved ones in our lives. I felt this at Steve’s passing and could feel your gratitude as I read this post. I really admire you, Theresa, and my thoughts are with you.

  • My condolences to you during this sad time. I am so glad you had so many years of happiness with Bill.

  • I am sorry for your loss. I look forward to reading more Tending My Garden. Your photo is beautiful.

  • Dear Theresa,

    So very sorry to hear that your beloved has passed away. I am sorry for your loss and pray that your time of mourning and sadness will be short. You both have been a constant source of inspiration to so many people. Thank you for all that you do. Wishing you strength, blessings and peace,


  • What a gentleman, to always wish the best and blessings for others. I am so glad for you that you had such a treasure to exist with for so long. I feel so sad for your loss. Thank you for sending us this update.
    I will have to buy more books from you soon as I’ve given all the copies I bought previously away and I need my own copy to refer to as well as more gifts for the holidays.
    Take care Theresa. I’m sending you love and hugs and gratitude that you will continue on with the authentic, smart, loving work that you share with us. During the hard days ahead, may your heart find glimmers of love, hope, and joy in this material world.

  • Theresa
    I was very sorry to learn that Bill has passed on. Although Ive never personally met him, I did feel like i knew him in many ways (through his art work and our many emails over the past few years). It was very clear to me how he loved to paint and share so much in your passion for gardening while helping others. Another connection, knowing how he enjoyed many of the pictures (and that one video in particular of Ellie working over the broccoli), also put quite a few smiles on my face. Could you please post a link to his art work for your readers that may not have had the chance to see his paintings?

    You continue to stay in my thoughts and prayers

    Hugs, Jack

  • For some reason I couldn’t sleep and read your email at 3am. The first read hit me with grief for you, but then I read it carefully again and was hit with the love and beauty of your post. On the third read I realized that you were blessing us and reminding us to pay extra attention to joy today. And then I was able to finally sleep. Peace and Love, Julie

  • Oh Theresa,
    Thank you so much for sharing with all of us. I also hope you are very kind and gentle to yourself. My wish is that you can fill your time with things that bring you comfort. Oh how I wish we lived closer together. What a wonderful tribute your post is to your wonderful husband Bill. What a wonderful man! I am so blessed to have found you and have been able to travel along through some of your life’s journey. My wish is that you are able to continue sharing your life’s memories with us if that is comfortable for you. Hugs to you.

  • Dear Theresa.

    So very sad to learn that your wonderful Bill has passed away…yet John and I were uplifted by reading your message, especially,
    “Like Bill, I can’t do anything about death, but I can do something about my life.”

    So, through my tears, I am celebrating my life today, and yours and Bill’s as well. What a marvelous love you have had together.



  • You are a strong woman, garden lady! So sorry in your loss. Bill knew you had to keep writing to keep breathing. (I)enjoy your posts and hope you can continue.
    Hooked on plants all my life. Since my own retirement here in the desert Southwest gardening’s really the only hobby I can afford! I don’t know if that’s good or bad for the country but more and more of us older folks are getting that way. Thanks for your newsletter!

  • Theresa, Lisaann from the Organic Gardening Community forums sends you a big hug. She doesn’t do e-mail but wanted me to tell you she is thinking of you.

  • Bless you, Theresa, and your giving heart. May Bill’s spirit live on in memory and bless his new journey–and yours.
    With respect and condolences,

  • Sending my love and prayers for strength and comfort Theresa. I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved Bill. Thank you for sharing a bit of your journey with us your readers. My husband and I went to Bill’s website and viewed his paintings. My what a gift he has! We so enjoyed looking at every picture. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing your life and love of gardening with us too!

  • Theresa, deepest condolences upon the loss of your dear Bill. Both of you have blessed so very many with your giving, loving, generous, and sharing hearts and lives. I’m sure I speak for many in thanking you and Bill for sharing your skills, your thoughts, and yourselves with lives well lived. Bill’s positive outlook and your sharing that and your heart with us is received with deepest respect and gratitude. I am moved and inspired to do my best, be my best, and give my best. Thank you and may God bless you and yours.

  • Do not stand at my grave and weep,
    I am not there – I do not sleep.
    I am the thousand winds that blow,
    I am the diamond glints in snow,
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    As you awake with morning’s hush
    I am the swift-up-flinging rush
    Of quiet birds in circling flight.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry,
    I am not there – I did not die.

  • Dear Theresa,
    I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear husband Bill. Please know that you both are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Theresa,
    I don’t believe anyone is fully prepared for the death of a spouse, parent, brother, sister, or even a very close loved one. It is easy to tell Bill loved God, loved people, and especially loved you. This allows him to look down upon you and others from heaven. Love God with all and love your neighbor as yourself is what the word of God says. This is the goal of every person on earth to make it to heaven. However most of the time it does not lighten the load we carry, for that someone to be missing from our lives, we make the best of it and move on as best as we can. We will be grieving, rejoicing with you and all the other emotions that come from the death of someone close, as we are mindful of your situation. May your days be as joyful as you wish and your sorrow be as minimal as possible.
    God Bless

  • Theresa,

    My heartfelt condolences. Yes, we are blessed everyday, and usually without regarding it. Our best hope is whatever religious preference you decide upon. Something made this earth and all that surrounds it, whether you call it God or something else we have but one life to explore, take care.

  • Reading all of these comments brings tears to my eyes. This is beautiful. Thank you for blessing us with your heart for Bill, Theresa. I keep going to Bill’s website to look at his work…to admire Bill the man and Bill the artist…but, also, to appreciate again and again his wonderful and blessed spirit. Continued prayers for you, dear Theresa.

  • My dear friend Theresa, I echo all the sentiments so well-expressed above.
    Mary’s comment is exactly right, and as someone who DID get to spend a little time with Bill, I can say with all my heart – it WAS a real gift to me and one that I will always treasure.
    I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone else who has risen above the circumstances of life so effectively, in order to become fully what he was meant to be and to give as whole-heartedly of himself and his talents as Bill. That is, exactly as you put it – greatness. Love you Bill and love you too, Theresa. Knowing you both has changed my life in many ways.

  • So sorry to hear that Bill passed away. Sending positive thoughts your way. Stay strong,Theresa.

  • All my sympathy Theresa. Losing loved ones is so difficult. I know your love gave Bill much comfort.

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