Friday, October 6, 2017

Blooming where I've been planted

I've survived cancer twice in the last thirteen years, but I think the last year has been even more stressful, soul-rending, and life-changing. It began on September 12, 2016 when my mother unexpectedly died one day before my husband, sister, and I were going to take her back to Hawaii, the place of her happiest memories when my Dad was stationed there in the sixties. From then until January I was immersed in the strange new world of probate law and estate matters as her executor. I had just closed on the family home when my husband unexpectedly lost his job after almost 24 years and we had to get past the shock to find another job.

Finding a job is not the same as it was 24 years ago. His profession did not require a bachelor's degree 35 years ago, and so 99% of online applications wouldn't even glance at his depth of knowledge and experience because he couldn't check that BA box! He was offered a job with the City of Fort Worth, and he accepted even though it would pay half what he was making before. So he moved here while I readied the house to sell, and unexpectedly it sold the FIRST DAY with a bidding war! Now we had to scramble to find a house that his Dad could live in (he'd been with us for almost 3 years and had his own "in-law apartment" attached to the house).

We found what we thought was a suitable house and paid a lot of $$ to make it safe and move-in-able for Dad only to discover the inspector missed the rat-infested attic and other nasty stuff. We also had to find a nearby nursing home for my husband's 95 year old aunt, for whom we have medical power of attorney too. TOO MUCH IN A VERY SHORT TIME!

We managed to get it done, but I was a wreck, physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. The stress of leaving our home and long-time friends in a small town which we dearly loved and in which we had planned to retire, die, and be buried coupled with the stress of moving to a totally unfamiliar place in a large city caused several weird health issues which I am still dealing with.

My precious sisters had a solution, the most touching gift I have ever received. Our yard was a disaster, the result of years of neglect, and I didn't have the energy to even think about a garden in the barren little corner that is my new "back yard" (leaving our beautifully landscaped one in our old town). Look what they did in one day:
 This is the "before" picture, which is actually after they raked up all the small branches and leaves and pulled up a rotted railroad tie.
 My youngest sister dug a trench to make a "dry creek bed" for drainage, since heavy rain causes a lake to form in that corner. They planted easy-to-care-for shrubs and flowering plants, added stepping stones to the gate, and moved our little table and chairs so we could actually use them!
 They took our Mom's little wagon she used for yard work, drilled holes for drainage, and planted a fairy garden in it!
Now Mom's old bird bath is a little planter, too. And there are little treasures to be found in all the corners and crannies, like a fairy door to the tree, fossils, crystals, and other pretty rocks my youngest sister found on her journeys to other states, a gourd bird house my middle sister made, and a planter her husband built.

To me, this whimsical, peaceful garden represents the journey this poor old shriveled plant has made, being uprooted after 24 years and transplanted, nearly succumbing to the stress of relocation but instead coming back to life.

Thanks, Christine and Allison! I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck!


  1. Aw, I am so sorry for all that you have been through Katy but isn't God so good to give us the support of loving family? Thank you for sharing this precious story.

    1. That's unfortunately why my poor characters suffer so much in the Mercy books! I was projecting my own suffering of the last 13 years onto them, poor dears. Yes, God is SO good and merciful and full of loving kindness!