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Hull: Sit with me a while in my garden

Let me start by saying that I kept putting off writing this week until I was in a more positive place and then decided that since we were “friends,” that I should share all my thoughts with you ... not just the happy ones.

I am hoping that you will be able to identify with me and that together we can use the tools that I have stumbled upon during my grieving to help one another. I would imagine that you have detected underlying sadness in my other articles which I have attempted to mask with the beautiful costumes which we all wear at times and the colorful scenery that we surround ourselves with as often as possible.

That being said, I am still not going to unveil myself completely as I feel that it would be much too frightening for most people, so just a glimpse today. During the month of September, I would like to focus on suicide and depression, as that is the month for awareness, so be prepared. I hope that you won’t shy away out of fear but rather want to learn as much as you can so that just possibly you could save a life!

It’s kind of interesting as I look back at the different times in my life that whatever garden I had actually reflected my life fairly well. For those who don’t have a single plant in your life, don’t let that stop you from hearing the analogy that I am talking about. We all have some form of a garden in our lives so dig deep. No pun intended. I wish that I had some of the pictures to show you of my wonderful garden but my words will have to suffice.

During the early years of my married life, when we started to have our children, I had so many plants and flowers. In the corner of my backyard, we built a raised planter filled with beauty and fragrance. There were many different kinds of roses with an array of colorful petals. Deep, rich red roses with such a strong passionate aroma, bright happy yellow roses with a light and lifting fragrance as well as the pure and simple white roses with a subtlety of scent. I loved all of them as I would move from one to the other allowing my senses to soar with the movement of the moods that they created. All of the variety reflected the various stages of my life, my children, my marriage and even my friends. I will speak on the annuals and perennials of friendship in another article.

OK, back to the garden. Scattered around the roses were a variety of green hearty little plants which didn’t require much attention but enhanced the overall abundant appearance. Standing tall and strong in the back was the bright happy sunflowers which towered above everything. This gave the appearance of guardians hovering over my sacred corner.

As time went on, life got busier and more distractions took me away from the time necessary to nurture my garden. The fruitfulness began to change. I knew that I would either have to adapt with a different variety of plants or I would be a witness to the deterioration of so much of what I enjoyed. This is the same thing that is essential for us to do in many areas of our life as we journey through all of the different stages. For most of us, change does not come easy. I don’t know about you but I like continuity in my life. I find comfort in the same friends, the same restaurants, and the same coffee shop where they know what I order. I want to know what to expect from my surroundings as I am the gardener.

As my children grew up and moved away from home, I found that my focus began to change from my garden to theirs. I was ready to see what they would create. This allowed me to view life through their eyes and discover a whole new kind of beauty. No surprise, while their vision had some similarity to mine, the differences were vast. It was actually quite exciting to see all that they were creating. For those who don’t have children, our friends can provide us with the same opportunity to view other types of gardens.

So what does your garden look like? Do you have only one tiny herb or are you drowning in oxygen from all the green? Is it decorative or functional, complicated and self-sufficient or extremely needy and demanding? Maybe you don’t even want one or maybe you live somewhere that it would be impossible for you to have one. What is most important is to remember that everybody has their own idea of what makes a garden/life beautiful.

So what does my garden look like now? As I mentioned, this is a time in my life when I’m not sure from day to day what I want in a garden. Sometimes I don’t even have the strength to venture out and smell the roses. Some days I am even resentful that the roses can go on and bloom when life seems so dark. I know that there are many people who can relate with the depths of my sorrow. Funny thing is … You know that saying “misery loves company”? Well, it is true, because none of us want to feel like we are the only ones whose sadness goes beyond understanding. I know that sounds horrible, but it is true. I just had a friend pop in to check on me and when she began to share the difficulties in her life, my spirit began to lift just a bit. For a moment, I could take the focus off of me, which gave me a chance to breathe and alter the path of sadness that I was on. Honestly, I would never wish unhappiness for her. What this did was allow my natural tendency to want to help another, which I believe we all have, instead of drowning in my own pit. Thank God for friends who care so much about my garden!

So what is the moral of the story? Yes, I have very sad moments! I also believe that when we share our lives with others that we need to show them the real garden, the good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes the sadness can bind us together is such a way that we can weather the storms of life better.

The roots are deeper and are being nurtured in the richest soil of human compassion. I had never experienced this type of love and care that I am receiving during this tumultuous time before in my life. Consequently, I will be better able to offer this gift to others because of the depth that I am rooted in. So I leave you hoping that you are blessed with a bounty of friends and also the nurturing and protective love of God.

Hull is a wife, mother and motivational speaker and writer who, like many others, recently moved to Dickinson because of the energy industry. She writes a recurring column for Our Town and blogs at