Saturday, August 8, 2015

When you least expect it …


Uplifting and encouraged words spoken bless you and motivate you to keep on going. Being a widow forever changes your life.  I know some may think, come on, time has gone by, get a life, stop talking about being a widow. I can’t help it. If you don’t want to read about it, feel free to forego this post.

I am living a new life, a life without my dear husband and best friend by my side. Life will never be the same, it has drastically changed.  Maybe some of what I go through may help other widows. We widows do the best we can and if we believe in God, we trust Him to fill the void, and we know we’ll see our husbands again one day and what a joyous reunion that will be.

Tomorrow makes 32 months since my love went to his heavenly home. He is in a much better place. Each day for me is one of learning acceptance, and moving forward.

Gardening has been a big part of my life, and is a huge blessing for me in my grieving.  I told my husband many, many years ago that I would rather have growing plants than be given a dying bouquet. (Although, I have to admit it was a real pleasure to receive bouquets from him now and then.) My gardens, done on a shoe string, and having more than their fair share of weeds, ‘surround me with love’.

When we first got computers in the late 90’s, my husband thought of the name ‘FlowerLady’ for my online name, because I was always out in among the flowers. (The name fits and many call me that instead of my real name, which is fine with me.) I hope he can see what I’ve done since he’s been gone. It hasn’t been easy to forge ahead, but that’s what one has to do. With a grateful heart to God for His many blessings, and for being with me every step of this journey, I continue on.

Some days I think what is the use. This, that or the other thing just isn’t as much fun or pleasurable without my DH here with me. My heart aches, sometimes tears flow. Then God gives little gifts of encouraging words from others, and my heart lifts.

Yesterday morning was one of those times in person. I had my straw hat on, gardening clothes, and had just taken a piece of rotting lumber out to the curb for pick up. A lady ‘walker’ was passing by, we said hello and she stopped and said “I admire your place every time I walk by. (I’m on her 2 mile walking route every day.) She said “It’s like Shangri-la.” I thanked her and told her that I enjoy gardening. We chatted a bit more then said goodbye.

I had to look up Shangri-la when I came inside because I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant. I just knew that we had worked at creating a little haven here.

~ Shangri-la is synonymous with any earthly paradise ~ a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world. ~

Even though this little haven isn’t permanently happy, there is joy, peace and love here. There is creativity, color, scents and there is music. I am thankful for all that I have been blessed with.

Today FedEx made a delivery and the lady said something like ‘Oh my, you wouldn’t even know this place exists by just riding down the road.’ Anytime people visit they say it’s an oasis in here.  I keep working at it, enjoying the process even though sometimes the work can be grueling.

You folks don’t realize how much your kinds words mean to me and I thank you for taking the time out of your busy days to leave comments or send notes.

Yesterday I worked for 4 hours outside, with a smile on my face, sweat dripping.  I weed wacked, and painted 1 of 4 wrought iron chairs. Today I painted a second wrought iron chair, in a purple shade, and also another shade of purple went on the door trim of the shed out back.

I’ve been inspired to keep doing what I’m doing, living my life as best I can and know my dear husband wants me to continue to be the happy person that I am. I love him more every day and look forward to being with him again.

So, remember, that kind, encouraging words can do wonders for others. We all need them and we should all give them too. We don’t know that the time we say them are just what the person needed in his/her life right then.

"Our challenge is to face up heroically to the world as it is and do our very best to make the most of our lives. To strive to live each day with serenity and courage."  Wilferd A. Peterson

Have a nice weekend.





Ruth Hiebert said...

Powerful words in this post. I agree,that I will not stop talking about my husband,because he is still very dear to me.I don't think a day goes by that I don't think of him in some way or mention his name and it has been almost 5 years now.If people don't like it,that's their problem.They have likely never lived our life and simply don't understand. Keep on keeping on my friend.Life is good,even if we have to travel alone for a while.

janiceflorida said...

Aww, I love all your posts Lorraine. Your husband was such a great part of your life, you should feel free to always speak of him. My husband and I have shared 42 years together, if I ever lose him, I know speaking or writing of him will be a comfort to me. Keep on doing just like you're doing. I, for one, enjoy your 'life story' very much. Real life, has it's ups and downs...we are not always flying high.

Paul Forster said...

I agree with Ruth when she says that some people 'have likely never lived our life and simply don't understand'. Until I met my current partner when I was 52 I would have been one of those people. I believe it is good to celebrate love that is present and past. Holding on to the special memories keeps your loved ones alive. I admire you, Lorraine for continuing to celebrate living even if it is hard at times. Thank you once again for your caring and kind words!

Deb said...

Oh my dear blogging friend - I really admire your courage. Sometimes life is just plain tough - we lose people who are very dear to us and it is so hard to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I look at you and see an example and role model of someone who is persevering through rough times and forging a future and making the world a more beautiful place. I know your dear husband looks down from Heaven at you with love and pride. Your garden, your beautiful craft creations, your blog and your kind and friendly words to others are truly a blessing. Thank you for all you do. Hugs and prayers from AZ.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Lorraine, you are a strong person, although you, possibly, don't think so. You are an inspiration for many of us. Your sunny personality - this is what I see while reading your posts and looking at the pictures of your lovely plants. I am glad that people, who see your garden, are wise enough to stop and tell you about its beauty.
Thank you for your strength and wisdom.

Jean Campbell said...

Why shouldn't you speak of being a widow? It's just part of your life as a gardener, a needleworker, a shopkeeper, a decorator -- and a widow. New mothers share their discoveries with other new mothers; your experiences have obviously helped others who lost a spouse.

I like that your place is an oasis, slightly hidden from the outside world for visitors to discover and enjoy. Sometimes I chuckle to myself when I plant some prettier things on the side that I see, not the side next the road.

I think of Shangrila as a place of refuge.

Terra said...

You are right to talk about your dear husband and about being a widow. I think your place does look like a Shangri-La, from the photos I've seen. In the devotional Jesus Calling for Aug. 3 it says "Words have such great power to bless or to wound." How good two people gave you words to bless recently.

Consider It All Joy said...

Yes Rainey, we all need those encouraging words and we need to say them as well! And, although I've never seen them in person, your gardens are beautiful, an oasis and a Shangri-la! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Blessings, Cindy

KathyB. said...

We often fail to realize the impact our words and deeds have on others, especially because "others " don't usually tell us about this. I can tell you I have often been uplifted and encouraged by simply driving by homes that have gardens and porches well tended, showing a love for life, color, gardening, and really, such homes show a love for community. I am not talking about rich homes in gated communities. I am talking about the homes I pass belonging to older people who do not have the means to do fancy remodeling or landscaping, but tend their gardens and homes because this is an extension of their love. I see so many such homes and al through my life remembering these homes has made a difference for me.

I think you have done an amazing work in your gardens of love and it shows, in your community and in your blog !

Nancy J said...

there is not a way I could understand your life as it is now. Your darling man is always with you, and I am reminded of some words I said after my Dad died, and I visited the bowling club he had been a member of. I donated his set of bowls to the club, as he had wanted and my words were something like this" I have left, but every day think of me with love, and remember the things we did together, continue with them as if I was still here". You are living those words, and when I read of your weed whacking, painting, gardening, bead work and hearts, I admire you so much. Words from friends, family or total strangers make such a difference, and often they have no idea how uplifting and encouraging they are. Hugs and love to you, dear Flower Lady.

Terry said...


I love receiving your posts in my in-box. You are an inspiration.
I have been happily married for 34 years, and cannot imagine life without my husband. However, I realize that neither of us will live forever. When I read your posts I feel your great faith, and I am abundantly grateful to you for sharing your journey with us. You bless many more than you will ever know.

With gratitude,

Sandra Bennett said...

Hi Rainey, great post, full of love and wisdom. We all handle the 'hood, widowhood or widowerhood, in a different fashion; hopefully as God leads. It will be good when I get to heaven but for me it'll be all about Jesus. Yes, I'll see Dave but he was married to Cathy, the love of his youth and I can't reason out how it'll be a reunion for he and I for they are already together in heaven.
Every now and again, I make the mistake of telling people how difficult life is now; their reply is "you should take your own blog advice...your Sabbath Keeping posts...". I don't know why I haven't learned the difficult lesson, most people simply don't care and don't want to be reminded one day, death will change their marriage as well. I've slowed down in telling people but, every now again, I make the mistake of thinking someone will be compassionate but they aren't.
I cannot imagine working 4 hours in the FL heat; well done! It's Sunday morning and, after tending to my animals, I'm seriously thinking of running away from home. I'll only be gone 4 or 5 hours but it'll be a much needed break. If it happens.
You are LOVED; keep up the GOOD WORK!

Jane said...

Your dear little cottage is indeed Shangri-La, Rainey! You keep on writing whatever the Lord leads you. As others have written, your blog is a blessing. The quote at the end of your post is perfect.


Betty from My Irish Cottage Home said...

Missing a loved one never ends and I am one that believes you should always talk about that person and if you cry than good, if you laugh than good. As humans we need that in our life. Some days are good and some days are bad. It does not matter if they left one day ago or 20 years ago, the pain and joy of their life will always be with us.

Christina said...

Dear Lorraine, you are so right that encouraging friendly words that cost us so little to say can make truly a difference in another person's life. So let's be generous with them :-)! I can also relate to the joy that you get from your garden. I feel the same and I am thankful everyday that I do have a garden and see it as such a privilege. Wishing you a nice rest of the Sunday!

M.K. said...

Widowhood is a radically altered state of existence. And the more you and your spouse were "one flesh" and truly united, the more widowhood is a half-life, and incompleteness. It's not that there are no beautiful things, and no happy moments, but I imagine even they have a shadow on them b/c they cannot be shared with him. I don't think a spouse's death is something you ever get "over" so much as you learn how to live on. But you cannot forget the loss. What a greater joy heaven will be!!

Maryann said...

Loss is hard, especially when it's the loss of someone you have shared most of your life with, I can't even imagine how difficult it is for you. I'm sure you never go a day without thinking about him. Your blog has been a wonderful testimony to God's faithfulness in your life and a frequent encouragement to me. Your post today was a reminder to me to look for the opportunities God puts in my life to encourage others on a daily basis. You have some wonderful memories in that garden of yours. Will be praying God will continue to comfort you and give you peace as you go thru your day to day.

Melanie said...

This was such a beautiful post! Never, ever stop talking about your loved one. It is stories and memories that keep us going, and it's healing, too. My mom (now 75) has been a widow since she was in her late 50's. We still talk about my dad. And even though I'm not a widow (thank God), I have lost a son. It's been almost six years without him. I will never stop talking about him either. He lived. He was a part of me. I want to remember his life and I want others to remember, too. So, God bless you and keep talking! {hugs}

Susan said...

How right you are about sharing kind words and thoughts with others. We all need to hear them from time to time. I Am glad that you are able to enjoy your garden and that it brings you and others much joy. Hugs to you as you share you feelings and sorrows with us. It is one of your gifts to be so honest and speak what's in your heart. Thinking of you.

GretchenJoanna said...

I'm glad I didn't miss this post - Since my husband died I have spent a lot of effort on the garden, and this week will begin an intensive several days of taking out a huge swimming pool, thereby increasing my garden area at least 100%.

As I was doing some heavy labor of preparation this afternoon, I began to doubt my decision, and to wonder if I should have postponed this project - but the thought of what I would have done otherwise always makes me glad I am doing this. Sorting and sifting through things in the house would involve too many decisions I don't have the emotional strength for right now - so I will postpone that work instead. Gardening gives me something creative to do, and helps me get on with my new life, while giving me the comfort of my familiar old life.

Thank you for an encouraging post. I am glad I can talk about my husband and my situation with other widows at least, and also with my children and grandchildren, who like to remember him also and to comfort me.

Judy said...

I love seeing photos of your beautiful eden.
Gardening is so good for the soul. You can just let your mind wonder while working. I find it very emotionally restful--even though my back will ache the next day.

When my mother died, my Dad never mentioned her again. It was like he had forgotten her, even though I knew he loved and missed her dearly. When my sister and I wanted to talk about her, we'd have to go outside or in an upstairs bedroom. Crazy!! I think we all would have gotten through the tragedy if we all could have spoken of her and a memory of times with her, openly and together.

Barbara Barth said...

I couldn't sleep tonight so came in to the computer and checked out your blog. So lovely, as always. Your words have a beauty to them that is calming and true. Just like your garden is a Shangri-La, your blog is a beautiful sanctuary to find comfort. I love what you write about, as a garden person myself, but not one that works like you do, but one that finds joy in flowers that bloom. Talking about your husband and being a widow is a huge part of who you are, as much as the strength and faith in your writing is another part of you. Write what is in your heart always. Your words help others in ways you may never know. Hugs and love dear Flowerlady!

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Hi Rainey
You just keep blogging about what is in your heart and on your mind. We are all your friends and certainly are interested in what you have to say. And yes, perhaps just one other widow will read your blog and give her the courage to continue on doing what she loves. My sister is 20 years older than I am. She lost her husband in 1988. A few years later we asked her to move near us when a wonderful home became available. Since moving she has become a recluse never leaving her house and totally abandoning day to day tasks. It's a form of depression that we can't help her with and we can't visit in her home due to the stench. Your faith in God has helped you through your loss and your love of your flower world has given you a purpose. And just look at how many you have touched without even knowing it by providing them with a lovely place to look at and wonder about. A Shangra-la for sure. Many of us are trying to achieve that oasis! AND your little purple-hued cottage give us the inspiration to live what we love.
xx, Carol

Deborah Montgomery said...

I think we need to talk about those we love, to keep their memory alive. They are a part of us, and we'll never forget/should never forget. Your words are comforting to many, and your courage and strength an inspiration. You spend your time creating beauty, through your blog, crafted items, and garden. I truly believe the beautiful matters. You are creating a beautiful life despite your loneliness, that is a great gift to the world. xo Deborah

Rebecca said...

I'm not a bit surprised that many people are blessed (and curious) by/about your beautiful Shangri-La~ From everything I see & read here, I believe this is a fine designation for your unique and wonderful place. Personally, I'm drawn to the unusual. Cookie-cutter and bland places have no attraction for me. I hope you continue to "keep doing what you're doing"! It brings a smile to MY face, for sure! ♥

Val said...

What an important reminder. And I agree with the walker and the delivery driver: You and your husband have created both a piece of heaven-on-earth and a tucked-away bit of peace with your garden there.

Art and Sand said...

This is a wonderful post. Simple kind words spoken without much thought can make someone's day.

I am glad you have your Shangri -La and that your husband is looking down on you as you putter amongst the flowers each day.

Beatrice Euphemie said...

Beautiful and heartfelt words. Moving forward after losing a beloved is the hardest thing on earth, I can only imagine. Although I have not lost my husband, we have been together for 43 years and the day we part will be the hardest day of our lives. Until we meet again....I love that you feel his presence and are inspired by his love. You are carrying on his legacy and that is wonderful. Gardening is so soothing to the soul and sometimes I think that is all a person needs - a little shelter, love to carry on, and a garden for joy. Wishing you peace and love as you move forward. Hugs xo Karen

Rue said...

I truly hope no one has said an unkind word to you about you grieving the loss of your dear sweet husband. If so, they should be ashamed. I think it's absolutely wonderful that you had a long life with him and loved him so much. If I ever have the same, I would be so blessed and darn tootin' I'd be doing the same as you.

I know he's looking down on you with love and pride, my friend.

God Bless you sweet Lorraine.


BeachGypsy said...

Lorraine, you talk about your precious husband AS MUCH AS YOU WANT to or need to! Real friends are here to listen and to encourage. Someday you and he will be re-united, let the promise of that, and the sweet memories be your joy for now. Your blog is very pretty and uplifting....see, even though you are going through this season, you are still blessing others! your husband would be proud of you and our Lord is delighted with you.

Dewena said...

The lady who stopped and told you that your gardens were a Shangri-la was so right, I couldn't get over what your gardens looked like when I first saw your blog. They were like a secret garden where there was a surprise around every corner. And more than that, it is as if I could tell that love had gone into it. I didn't know at first that it was much needed therapy for you too but that is wonderful. I saw my mother go through being a widow and she had never gardened. Dad was the one who gardened, and he would have loved yours. Mom was always an excellent housekeeper and remained one until the day she went to the ER, and then to hospital and next to the nursing home where she now lives, but I don't think her house gave her the solace that a garden gives a true gardener.

God bless you, Flower Lady!

Darcie said...

I will never tire of hearing about your DH, or how much you miss him. I am inspired by real love stories, and my heart aches for you when the missing him is overwhelming. I always have imagined your place as being an lucky you are to look all around you and see you and your husbands love portrayed in your hidden paradise.