In 2007, my wonderful husband died suddenly. It was a devastating loss, and as it turned out, much of my healing happened in my home and garden.
I remember the pain so clearly. Jim and I were married 25 years and I had no idea how I would go on without him.
above via Anthropology
But I did go on. I went to counseling twice a week; exercised and fed myself fresh, plant-based meals; and went to dinner with dear friends once or twice a week. After some months, I started having guests to dinner and started taking interior design clients again.
That first spring and summer were incredibly difficult for my son and me. He had his work, school and friends. And I spent all my downtime in the garden. One spot in particular was a little seating area I’d designed in the upper, terraced gardens. The bistro chairs, table and iron daybed with big feather pillows acted as a healing, almost meditative retreat.
At three or four in the afternoon, this place in the garden is magical. The shadows are long, and the light is beautifully dappled. With my iced tea in hand, and the sound of chirping birds and the fountain, I’d sit and go through my memories of Jim. And so, in this way, I was able to etch our memories in my mind and begin the healing process.
Your home can be such a positive force in your life, providing structure, stability, protection and in my case, a place to heal. But it can also be a very real, energy zapper. If your home isn’t acting as a system of support, consider some ways within your means, to improve it.
I design spaces for women with value their health and wellness, and it is much the same as interior design for women who have lost their significant other. Follow a few of my tips below to create a nurturing space for yourself while you heal.
I was 48 when Jim died. People recommended support groups and gave me books on grief. I appreciated their intentions, but I knew myself well enough to know those things wouldn’t work for me.
It could be as simple as investing in a good cleaning lady or professional organizer, or as large as remodeling your entire home. If you opt for a day or two of cleaning, that alone can give you an enormous energy boost and rekindle pride in your home, which in turn will be a great impetus to keep it that way.
Your surroundings have a stronger effect on your psyche than you might initially realize.
The clouds will gradually lift, not all at once mind you, but over a period of years. For me it was about five years before I really saw the needle move on grief, and another five years before I could say “I have reached my capacity to heal from this loss.”
I choose to remember everything. Remembering can be pretty painful at times, but if the other option is living pain free and forgetting, I choose to remember.
If your home isn’t supporting you the way it is, are you ready for a change? Get some help via my complimentary premier design and wellness download, The Wellness Home, 5 Steps to a Beautiful, Restful Home for Women Who Value their Health and Wellness. It’s the prettiest little book. It’s also a quick read with super easy design solutions that help you lead a beautiful, healthier lifestyle at home, plus my 3-to-5 Things Framework that gives you step by step actions to get started and stay on track. Get yourself some help, post haste!
That’s it for today. Thank you for stopping by!
Want to learn about Mindfulness? Check out my interview with mindfulness and meditation educator Marsha Gehl!