House Anniversary

Four years ago today, I bought my house. Whoa! I had to stop and reread that sentence because . . . four years, really? The years slipped by so easily, it doesn’t seem possible that I’ve lived here for four years already.

I encountered a few weird instances, such as getting a water bill for 19,000 gallons of water (they said it couldn’t possibly be their new electronic meter that was off because those meters, like all electronic devices, always work perfectly. Yeah, right.) And there were a few scary instances, such as my homeowner’s insurance doubling after it had already almost doubled the year before. But for the most part, buying this house was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. It’s given me comfort and security, focus and confidence.

There’s still much for me to learn about owning a house, but little by little, I’m gaining the knowledge I need, or more specifically, I’m learning who to call to help me with anything that goes wrong. And I’m learning to garden and to take care of a yard. In fact, just this morning, my yard offered me the lovely gift of cheery yellow crocuses.

When I moved here, I had no idea how ideal this area would be for me. I came for the house, but I also found neighbors, friends, a library, a job, and so much more.

During all those years of being lost in grief after Jeff died, I held on to the hope of a something wonderful in my future because shouldn’t a supreme sorrow be balanced by at least a modicum of joy? And here it is, my something wonderful. My house. My home. For almost a decade, even though I had places to live, I always felt homeless. Jeff had been my home, and with him gone, I felt rootless. And now, I am putting down roots. Literal roots. Every time I plant something, I am both symbolically and actually putting down roots.

Being here gives me a sense of the ebb and flow of life. Not that I needed any reminders, considering how many people in my family have died the past decade or so, but still, I feel the flow of seasons. The life and death and rebirth of plants. And, unfortunately, the coming and going of friends. In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve already lost friends due to moving, ill health, and even death.

I also feel the ebb and flow of my own life and am so grateful for the waves that washed me up on this particular shore. I have to smile at that the silliness of that metaphor. Not only is it trite, but it is inapt since there are no waves around here — just miles of empty prairie. But still, here I am, and with any luck, here’s where I will stay for many more years.


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.

March Showers Bring March Flowers

I realize April showers are supposed to bring May’s flowers, and with any luck, that will hold true this year, but the showers we had this month brought some much-needed color to my life.

You’d think that the way I photograph these blooms so lovingly that my yard would be carpeted in color, but unfortunately, that is not true.

The flowers are small, at least in comparison to the wide swaths of dirt in which they’ve been planted.

Despite the small size, and the sparse blooms, each flower is a treasure and is loved for itself.

It does tickle me, though, when people tell me they wish they could see my garden, when the truth is, they (and you!) get to see every flower that blooms.

Someday, perhaps, I will have a garden to show off, but for now, I’m just delighted I have any blooms to share on this lovely last day of winter.


Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

Spring Springs Forward

Early this morning, we needed to spring our clocks forward, and somehow, the crocus must have thought we were supposed to spring spring itself forward, not just the clocks, because look what I found in my yard!

I wasn’t even looking. I’d been checking on the tulips to see how they survived the latest cold spell — they did — but I caught a glimpse of yellow of the corner of my eye and went to investigate. Oh, such a lovely color!

Someday, I hope to know enough about gardening and plants to have a luxurious yard, but I doubt I’d be more pleased with a yard full of color than I am with just a single blossom. On the other hand, I could be rapturous, but I wouldn’t know since I’ve never managed to grow that many flowers at once. Still, whether one or many, I do so enjoy any plants that manage to flower despite my inexperience. I have a hunch the main thing now is to make sure the bulbs get plenty of water since we are going through a drought, though with another midweek cold spell on its way, I’m not sure how much I should give them. I suppose I could pretend we had an early rainstorm and hope the bulbs get the message.

Meantime, it’s delightful to have this colorful evidence that spring really is on the way.


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? If you haven’t yet read this book, now is the time to buy since it’s on sale.

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