Today was a day for celebration. I received flowers from my employers.

And a goodie-filled celebration station from my sister.

I also received a special gift for my house — the replacement greengage plum trees arrived today, and I have a commitment from my contractor to get them planted as soon as possible. I feel good about these trees. March 7th seems to be a lucky day for me. After all, this is the anniversary of the day I closed on my house, and for sure, that was a lucky day! So I have every expectation of these trees doing well.

While March 27th, the anniversary of Jeff’s death, is a day for me to reflect on the vagaries of life, March 7th is a day for me to celebrate the joys of life, serendipitous occasions, and unmade wishes come true.

I never wished for a house, never really even wished for a home of my own, never wanted the responsibility, and yet through a series of unlikely events such as actually finding a nice place I could afford in an area with an atmosphere that feels comfortable, here I am. It’s as if life reached inside me, pulled out a wish I’d never considered, and made it come true.

I suppose it’s fitting that the anniversaries of the two most life-changing events of my latter years occur in the same month. I’m glad this one comes first, though — I wouldn’t ever want to feel as if this house is a consolation prize for losing the love of my life. The two are separate events, and yet . . . not. Because obviously, if Jeff were still here, I wouldn’t have a house.

But that’s not a conundrum for today. Today is about celebration. And gratitude. Because I am so very grateful I have a lovely home in a nice town, with friends, a nearby library, a job. And people to help me celebrate.



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.

An Exercise in Hope

I had a nice surprise today: snow! We haven’t had so much snow this winter that I’m sick of it, and anyway, it wasn’t much of a snow — just enough to cover the ground and my front ramp while leaving the sidewalks clear. But it was enough to make a day spent inside feel cozy, especially when accompanied by a book and a cup of lemony spiced tea.

More snow is expected for Thursday, along with frigid temperatures, but hopefully the intervening days will be warm enough for digging.

I’d planted three 6-foot- tall greengage plum trees at the beginning of last winter, which was supposed to be the optimum time for planting, so that’s when the nursery sent the trees. One of the trees did well, but two didn’t survive the winter, though sprouts did shoot out just above the graft mark. (I was hoping to get trees with greengage roots so the inevitable volunteers would turn the tree into a greengage forest, but I took what I could get.) I lopped off the trees just above the shoot, and one of truncated trees seems to be doing well, but still, the nursery said they’d replace both trees. (I had to pay shipping, which made those replacement trees rather expensive, but hopefully it will be worth it, especially since they won’t replace the replacement trees if there is a problem.)

They decided not to take a chance on the replacement trees not making it through the winter, so they promised to send them in March, which sounded good a year ago. Well, now it’s March. Those trees are slated to arrive tomorrow, which is why I’m hoping for decent digging weather. I can’t plant those trees by myself; even if I could dig the hole deep enough (which I can’t), I couldn’t hold the tree upright and fill in the hole at the same time. My contractor said he’d send someone to help, and I’m sure he will. Eventually.

Luckily, it will be cold enough that the trees shouldn’t come out of dormancy if they have to wait a bit. I suppose if worst comes to worst, I can do the planting myself over several days, but I doubt that will happen. I have been so patient with this contractor that generally when something is time-sensitive, he figures he owes me and he gets it done. (Oddly, these extra things he does so quickly for me are more in the line of favors since they are handyman jobs rather than typical contractor projects.)

As always, though, any gardening project is an exercise in hope. I hope the trees get here safely. I hope they get planted in time. I hope they grow. I hope they blossom. I hope someday to eat plums picked off my own trees.

A lot of hope!

But first, the snow.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.