Twenty Wishes

I just finished a book where a group of widows, in an effort to find joy in life again, decided to each make a list of twenty wishes. It was a project they put a lot of time into, trying to come up with so many wishes. The wishes weren’t supposed to be a to-do list, but in the end, some of their wishes were things they were able to do for themselves rather than leave it up to the fates. (Buying a pair of red cowboy boots, for example, vs. falling in love again.)

It was a clever idea, but something like that would never work for me. Though come to think of it, I did attempt to start wishing about three years after Jeff died. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very successful at it. I just couldn’t think of many things I wanted, except truly impossible things like hiking one of the long trails.

As it turns out, so many of the good things that have happened to me — or that I made happen — after Jeff died, were things I would never have wished for because I didn’t know I wanted them. Dance classes, for example. They were an important part of my life for many years, but dancing was not something I’d ever wanted to do, and performance? Totally out of my realm. And yet I did go on stage.

Then there was my cross-country trip, my backpacking trip, my house, my garden. None of these things would ever have ended up on a wish list (except perhaps for wishes that included hiking) because they just didn’t seem feasible. And more importantly, weren’t things I wanted.

And yet all of those things have made my life what it is today. A special life, for sure.

One thing that I might have put on a wish list is a gazebo because I’ve always loved the idea of a gazebo. Weirdly, I still don’t have a gazebo — what I have (or almost have) is a hut.

Instead of being a light, airy, white wrought iron structure, it’s dark and heavy. But it functions the same, or even better, since it’s cool and shady under there. And it will be comfortable when I decide what furniture (if any) would be appropriate.

I’m not really sure the hut fits with my other buildings — the house and the garage, but I have a hunch that if I had painted the hut to match those buildings, it would be too much of the same thing.

But, gazebo or hut, I have a covered structure in my backyard. I’m looking forward to entertaining the Art Guild in a couple of days, and with any luck, the weather will cooperate. Right now, though, the sky is as dark and heavy as my hut. Eek! I sure hope those construction workers manage to get off the roof if a storm rolls in.

But I’m getting off the topic — perhaps — of twenty wishes. Making such a list worked for the women in the story, but in my life, not so much. I certainly wouldn’t want to limit myself to only things I can imagine. I would have missed out on too many great life experiences.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

2 Responses to “Twenty Wishes”

  1. Judy C Galyon Says:

    I like the idea of 20 wishes. It shows optimism & hope which is something we all need. I like your gazebo, Have you thought about painting it the color of your sidewalk? Your sidewalk would led everyone there, and be a nice accent. I’ll be interested to see what you do with it. It will be good for the Art Guild. Let me know how that turnsout.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      That’s a good idea about painting the gazebo the color of the sidewalk, but gazebo can’t be painted. It was burned to make it look rustic and then coated with polyurethane. It’s growing on me. Now I just need to find some furniture for it!

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