Thursday, May 23, 2013

Gardening and Packing and Fretting and . . .

We're leaving our island on Friday, flying out on Saturday. Before we leave here, I \need to finish packing. I need to get a few projects done for work and organize a few others so I can do them while away. I'm trying to clean the house and our little guest cottage, make up beds, etc. so that it's welcoming for anyone who might stay here while we're away (our kids and sometimes my siblings do that, if the weather's inviting enough and the ferry traffic not too daunting). We have a piece of new furniture being delivered later today or tomorrow, so those arrangements had to be made. Ditto for some reno-ing that will be done while we're gone. Notes for the pet-sitter, mail arrangements, basic instructions for house guests printed out. The lists seem to multiply even as I cross items off.

Tomorrow I have the hair appointment that's supposed to get me through the next seven weeks, and I managed to snag a pedi and waxing appointment for Saturday. We want to visit both granddaughters again this weekend, but most importantly, we're confronting all the sadness around my father-in-law being admitted to hospice after a rapid decline last week, the conflict my husband feels about saying good-bye. At this point, Paul still plans to come with me on Sunday, but we'll see. . .* And I know. That announcement should not have followed my laundry and mail and pedi and waxing lists, but such is the state of my mental and emotional jumble right now. There is an apprehension that if I let myself go "there" for very long, I will too easily get stuck. My loss of my mother is still too fresh, my bucket a bit too low. . . So I concentrate on what I can do, even if it might be superficial. . .
So the garden is a challenge and a frustration and a welcome distraction. It's looking spring-perfect for the moment, but those of you talented gardeners out there will be shaking your heads in dismay that I could be leaving it just when it requires at least an hour daily for trimming and pruning and dead-heading. Biomass is exploding at a seemingly exponential rate, and I rather wonder if we'll be able to find the house at all when we get home.  After scrubbing out two bathrooms this morning, I headed out for a garden break, and I will not be surprised if I can't get out of bed tomorrow morning for the Sore and Stiff and Seized-up that my muscles are going to be.
But how much better it was for an hour to fret about aphids on the roses I'm going to miss (my beloved Complicata, a once-bloomer, should explode mid-June and be all done a few weeks after) . . . and to fuss over the impossible task of dead-heading the cornflowers, knowing they'll be a mildewed, flopped-over mess after a week's neglect (never mind 6!). . . but that they look quite splendid right now and the buzzing of bees collecting their sweet goodness calmed me back into a few deep breaths. . . .

Given all I have to do, we both know I shouldn't be here at the keyboard, but I do enjoy your company. So I will be back before we leave on Sunday to show you the innards of my suitcase. . . . Meanwhile, I hope that if you're facing some of life's challenges as well, you find some small corner of joy, some resounding consolation. . .

*I want to add that much as I appreciate your comments, Paul's decision of whether or not to fly on Sunday is such a personal one that I hope you will not exhort him to stay at his father's side. I will just say that he has always had a very good relationship with his dad, has been as good a son as any parent could want, and that he is as reconciled to his father's death as one might expect, given age and the depredations of cancer. And those of us who have been through similar circumstances know well that one can wait and wait by a bedside for weeks only to have a loved one slip away as soon as we're gone. . . 

25 comments:

  1. Oh, those beautiful blue, blue cornflowers! Your garden is lovely... I can understand that it's going to be a challenge to leave it.

    I just bought a bunch of herbs in pots and tomorrow hope to find a windowbox and some potting soil so I can have fresh herbs for the summer. Even though I'll be traveling, I know that I'll enjoy it while I'm here.

    I hope the rest of your preparations go smoothly, and I wish you and Pater solace as you cope with his father's decline.

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    1. Thanks, Rubiatonta. Now I'm picturing a gorgeous collection of potted herbs in a Madrid windowsill -- a lovely image!

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  2. Just looking at those pictures of your garden is so comforting. Deep breaths...anything that absolutely *needs* to get done *will* get done. Hang in there...

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    1. It does always seem true, doesn't it? Not sure how that works, but it's great to be at a stage of life where I know that, and I've learned to believe in the process. . .

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  3. Oh your beautiful garden is such a respite, even virtually. You know that what needs to be done will be done and of course you should be doing whatever you are doing. Have a wonderful trip!

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    1. Thanks, Mardel. So generous of you to take time, in the wake of your own huge loss, to comment.

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  4. Your garden looks lush and beautiful. At this time of life, sometimes the mind boggles at the daily challenges. But in your flowers and in your little ones, there is the joy and renewal of life. Good luck with your preparations.

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    1. Thanks Madame. I'm looking forward to finding respite away from home, but you're right that there's much joy and renewal right here. Hope you're able to search some out for yourself as you snuggle back into chez vous after all those weeks away.

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  5. I am constantly amazed by how gorgeous everything around you looks! Wow. Planning to go away for a week is an effort. Going away for many requires a super-human attention to detail for about a week before you leave. But just think of the freedom that awaits.

    On the other topic, I'm so sorry for Paul that he has to go through such a sorrowful experience right now, especially on the heels of yours (which, of course, is also his).

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    1. It really is an effort, although it will clearly have a reward. I tend to project into the future anyway, worrying about "what ifs" so 6 weeks gives me lots of scope for fretting. . .
      Thanks for the sympathy. And you're right that while each of us feel the loss of our individual parent differently, they've each been part of both our lives for so long that we each feel the loss.

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  6. Bon voyage!
    Your garden looks lush and such a sanctuary to seek solace from what life dishes out.
    I hope you enjoy your pedi and hair appointments...
    take care.

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    1. You know well what solace a garden can be, even when it's the most work. . . Thank you!

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  7. Such a lot to deal with at this time. The whirl of emotions is daunting and disconcerting. How gorgeously your garden displays her charms just now. Bon voyage, Mater!

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    1. My garden seems happiest in the wet spring although there will be more loveliness in the sunny rose-blooming weeks that others will enjoy in our absence. . .

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  8. Hello Mater, I'm so sorry to hear about your father-in-law but I know that you and Pater will get through this as best you can. Thank goodness you have each other to lean on.

    By the way, my husband is in Victoria now and on Saturday will take part in the Swiftsure race with his colleagues and the permanent crew of the HMCS Oriole. Talk about team building!

    Good luck with your list, looking forward to seeing the traditional packing post!

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    1. That's an exciting race -- and as you say, must be great team building!
      And you're right, Pater and I are very lucky to have each other to get through these losses.

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  9. May it be a pleasant trip in spite of everything.

    And as long as small details are a welcome distraction, any tips on how to keep the aphids off our pepper plants?

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    1. Just tell them the peppers are really hot?
      I should be squishing aphids like crazy right now and instead am abandoning my garden to them. . . I've tried things like dousing them with soap suds, etc. but sorry, no tried-and-true remedies for you. Other readers, chime in?
      And Terri, it's so great to have you back!

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  10. Thanks for taking the time to show us your beautiful garden! I so love your travel posts (actually I enjoy them all!) and look forward to "our" next trip ;) Wishing you (and Pater) all that you need whatever that may be.

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoy the travel posts 'cause they'll be coming your way soon. And thanks for the good wishes. . .

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  11. I'm just going to exhort you not to worry about making your house ready for guests in your absence.

    They can fend for themselves, I suspect:).

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    1. I know, isn't it silly?! Still, I did make up all the beds. . . now just to hope they return the favour . . . ;-)

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  13. By now you're on the other side of the strait and have (I hope)left gardening and cleaning worries behind. May you have a good holiday.
    My sisters and I have a pact. When one of us is on holiday the others vow not to make contact over any home-family-emergency unless it involves the traveler's spouse or children. I know it sounds harsh, but when one is far away one can do nothing.

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  14. Have a wonderful trip!! I've just arrived here to the island. I crossed that bridge in Mount Vernon 60 minutes before it collapsed. I'm glad no one was seriously hurt but I guess I'll be here for a nice long while. Hope to see you after your fantastic adventure.

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