Posted by: carolyn / through a widow's eyes | November 19, 2014

fast forward to a few years later


Once upon a time, my husband and I ran a business together. Some friends from my old life will remember that J. and I had a bakery, Handmade Desserts. It was my brainchild. I was the concept and detail girl, making up recipes, designing decorations, and meeting with customers. He did a lot of the paperwork, delivered to wholesale accounts, and background support. Together we ran the shop, managed employees, worked straight through the night more times than I care to remember, all while parenting our little girl, and for many years, we also cared for J’s aging, deaf, forgetful father. We were mostly happy, but it was a lot of hard work.

Holidays, of course, were the busiest. I offered of myself at these holidays, to make tasty pies and beautiful cakes for the people who chose us as their holiday dessert purveyor. We were often exhausted.

We took pleasure where we could find it, and one place we found it was in the natural world.
One of my favorite parts of the holiday season was decorating our shop with greens and berries from the woods, the beach, the power lines and railroad tracks and margins of the wilderness.

The last year we did Handmade Desserts holidays, before J. got sick, he and I were taking a break, walking the dog along the railroad tracks. I was gathering wreath-making material, clippers in hand. I was skipping along beside his long-legged stride, babbling on happily about my Christmas arrangements of berries & greens, and he said, brilliantly, succinctly, “Why don’t you skip the bakery part and just do the decorating.” Like it was the most obvious solution in the world. That had never once occurred to me.

I will never forget it. He had such a way of seeing the world, the big picture, so clearly.
Now, fast forward to a few years later.

Here we are.
I mean,
Here I am.
Without him.

Like I said, fast forward to a few years later. My work now is so different from what I did when my husband was here. I have been trying to build a whole new life on the wreckage of the old, a daunting task. Sometimes this feels great, to be fairly compensated for work I do well and love so much; sometimes it feels a little unstable. Among other jobs, I work with a dear friend to design, build, and maintain the gardens at a large oceanfront estate. This brings me joy I won’t even go into here.

But this year something new has happened. This year, we have been hired to decorate the house (mansion, really) for Christmas. We are getting paid (quite well) to collect winter berry and evergreens from the woods and power lines, and arrange it beautifully in the client’s home.

This would make my J. so happy.
I wish he was here to discuss it.

I am gonna have to make those berries extra bright and beautiful,

light those votive candles with intention.

So he can see them all the way from where he is.

same as it ever was. Not.


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