Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Results (after Savage Plants & Landscape) & a Few Other Thoughts

One of the reasons for our decision to have our back yard changed is that we had planted grass there so the kids would have a bit more lawn to play in. David is getting a little big for the games that they used to play there, and Katie isn't here to play with him any more. The lawn was always having drainage issues in the winter, was weedy and mossy and looked unkempt. So the decision to change it had a mixture of feelings attached to it, as do so many things nowadays.

On my way to a restaurant to meet my mom today, I parked in front of a store that was having a sale on some very fun, very HIGH wedge & platform shoes. The shoes looked familiar to me. That's because last spring, Katie wanted to have a pair of those shoes, from that store, and she tried them on and begged me to let her have them, but she wasn't strong enough to walk in them. In fact, I had always made sure that she didn't wear very high heels, because of the fact that she was still growing and I wanted to protect her back, as well as her feet, and because they weren't age-appropriate for my 11- to 12-year old daughter. But she has loved high heels since she was a tiny girl, and frequently raided my (and my mother's) closet to borrow high heels for dress-up. (I did buy wedge- and medium-heeled shoes for her last spring, and we got a pair of mules to share, and but not the "Jessica Simpson-height" heels that she coveted. I also gave her lessons in how to walk -- and how not to walk, which she found hilarious -- in heels and a skirt.)

So just passing that rack of shoes was a small gut-punch on the way to lunch, and I had to stop and think. I told my mom that I see things that stimulate my memory every day. Daily; I have no idea how many times a day. I wonder if this is part of why I feel so scatterbrained.

My mind goes back and forth between the present and the past, between peace and trauma, love and pain, joy and sorry, many, many times, and without warning. This is the way my life is, and will be, for a long time. I know that, and I accept that. It is full of triggers, hidden who-knows-where, and I can't avoid them; that would mean avoiding life. But I think people should know that some of us live with this slideshow going on in our mind, one that we are not able to help, control or change. We just have to let the images play across the screen of our mind, and deal with the feelings. It can be very tiring.

On a happier note, this is what our back yard (by the front door!) looked like on Sunday:
And this is what it looks like today (click on the photos to have a better view of the details):

We lost a bunch of grass, moss and weeds, and we gained some lovely rhododendrons, three vine maples, a white dogwood, grasses, ferns and vinca minor (groundcover with purple flowers). They also brought in some good mulch and installed pretty little plants between each of the granite pavers. (I'm not going to even try to identify all of the types of plants they brought.)

We gained a screen, with clematis planted in front of it; those plants will grow up and disguise our glaringly-white propane tank, and some pretty plants behind the screen will help with that until the clematis can grow up to do its job.

This was the view from our door, looking towards the back yard, and the woods above, BEFORE:
and this is what it looks like today:

Can you imagine what that yard is going to look like next summer? We are really happy with the new look!
You may have noticed another beautiful dogwood tree, planted in a huge pot that also had beach glass and flowers in it. The tree was decorated with lights and angels, and was delivered as a surprise to us for Katie's Celebration of Life last August. The friends who gave this gift to us had it delivered to our home the next day, and it sits near the door, with this plaque that they had made for us.
It says: The angels are always near to those who are grieving, to whisper to them that their loved ones are safe in the hands of God. It has Katie's initials at the bottom of it, inscribed in a tiny heart. Thanks to all of the "Chelanies" for a beautiful and heartfelt gift that we enjoy every day.
Oh, and Jim and Joan Savage are now the grandparents of FIVE, since their daughter, Robin, just gave birth to TWIN BOYS yesterday! Congratulations, Robin and Brant! A big welcome to the newest members of the family!


Jennifer Stumpf said...

what a lovely yard. thank you for sharing your life with us readers so openinly, karen. way, way across the country i am thinking of you and sending you peaceful thooughts.

Laurie Keller said...

I totally relate to the slideshow and the triggers. You have put these things down in words that are such a great comfort to me. I woke up sad about Wendy today, and now I feel better, thanks to you. I just finished going through the pictures on Katie's Caring Bridge page yet again. I love the one of the two of you with your eyes closed. The photo puts out such a strong, heartfelt love. I like seeing it when I visit your site every day. Your back yard/front yard is lovely and it's great fun to see it come together. I hope your weekend is a good one. Love, strength and peace to you, always.

karengberger said...

Thank you both for your kind words.

I am so glad that you received comfort today from what I wrote, and I hope you will continue to be comforted when you need it. One moment at a time, so they say...Blessings, peace and love to you.

Smileygirl said...

You write your thoughts and feelings so vividly for the readers to get a grasp of what you are dealing with on an everyday basis. By sharing so much of your grieving process and healing you are inspiring so many people out here, regardless of their situation. I thank you for that. And your yard pics are beautiful. Can't wait to see what next year will bring too...