Armed Combat in the Greenhouse….

 The sky is the colour of pale blue Cornflowers and the day feels full of promise as I push open the greenhouse door to let in the sweet morning air. I see it straight away, something which should not be there; a white envelope with my initial on it, a big “K”, for Karen.

This is not just any old envelope, this is a card from my husband who is divorcing me and here it is among the Chillies, Cucumbers and baby Carrots. I have never found an old war relic. Do you know the kind of thing I mean? Someone finds something metal on a beach somewhere and before you know it, the army is brought in, the area is sealed off and the experts set about assessing whether this thing is going to blow up in your face. Well where is the army now? Who is going to protect me from the fall out of this dangerous item in my greenhouse? For this is as potentially injurious to my heart as an unexploded bomb.

The air feels suddenly chill, as I stand motionless, just staring at the card, my whole being now focused on how to deal with this new danger. Like some modern day Antigone, I face my fears and open it. And although it is true that there are no men outside in combat gear, cordoning off the greenhouse area, my own inner security team seems to have come up with a protective strategy. I scan the words in the card. Read at speed, its contents do not have time to permeate my heart, which, after years of hurting suddenly seems sealed off and protected. I close the envelope again and go into the meadow. I did it. I opened Pandora’s Box and survived.



25 thoughts on “Armed Combat in the Greenhouse….

    • Thank you so much, what a good idea. You may not realise it but you helped to inspire me to have enough courage to share this on my blog. You once shared a post which was of a personal nature and I felt it was right for you as I hope it is for me now.

      • I dithered for ages about sharing personal stuff, and I don’t often do it, but I generally feel that I’m amongst friends and I know that many of my readers and especially my followers, do care very much.
        I hope that you will find comfort here as well as in your garden x

      • Every, word, photo and comment on my blog has helped to build foundations for a new life and new start for me. I would never have thought that a blog could have such far reaching effects. And yes, I do find comfort here. We are a community and our communication offers the kind of support and feedback which has enriched my life and supported my instability through this horrible time. I really do feel stronger because of it, not so cut off and cast out as I once did.
        Thank you so much for your kind words.x

  1. Oh, Karen–I’m sorry you’re facing this and that it invaded your refuge. But, on the other hand, I’m glad you have your refuge and the inner strength to carry on. Your post is beautifully written and I hope that, in writing it, you were able to feel the support it would engender in your readers. You’re very courageous . . . (and I wholeheartedly support the idea of composting the card!)

    • Thank you so much Kerry. Writing the post was so cathartic. I wondered how I could turn this situation around and turn it into something positive. I have always tried to make something beautiful, maybe a quilt, or something when I needed to distract myself from unpleasant things. The writing is a new activity for me…and it worked! I have no idea how it will be viewed, but it felt as though I had nothing to lose, so I jumped! I seem to still have two arms and two legs and I am making something special for my Friday post. So….fingers crossed!

  2. I am so sorry Karen. Your ex is a fool chasing the wind. He is the more to be pitied and I pray the Lord fills your empty cup with His companionship. God, above all, is acquainted with sorrow and rejection. You are so precious and in His light and delight of you you will find healing and rest for your soul. I am praying for you! Jan

    • Thank you so much Jan. The difficulty I have is that his suggestion is that the divorce is “just a bit of paper” and he claims to love me forever. I have to shut that out because it is not how I see it.
      I am truly grateful to be mentioned in your prayers and for those prayers to be heard by someone so familiar with suffering. I met a lady last year when I was trying to walk ( because things were so emotionally painful I decided to have a foot operation, thinking that physical pain could not make things any worse). How wrong I was! The operation went wrong and the surgeon broke my foot by mistake. The lady, a stranger who heard my story said she would pray for me. It felt caring and protective and I was very moved by her kind gesture.
      Thank you for caring enough about me to offer to do too.

  3. My heart wendy out to you Karen,a brave and beautiful piece of writing,I was there with you in the greenhouse.So glad that you were able to share. M xx

  4. I am so proud of you, Karen. I am also envious of you, your greenhouse looks like it should be on the cover of a gardening magazine. I am always thinking of you & your wisdom. I wish you peace. ~amy

    • It is always a red letter day when I see that you have been visiting my blog! I hold you in high esteem with your fabulous blog, amazing photography and the experiences you share.
      I love my greenhouse, it is a dwarf wall type and an almost exact replica of the one my Grandma had. Mine has the added meaning of being built with bricks which were made very close to where she lived. It leaks very badly, despite every attempt to fix it, but it is close to my house and I can see it from the kitchen window. I had to have a digger in to dig down into the hill before it was erected because very other green house I had there had all the glass broken, even in the summer, in the terrible winds we get.
      I do find peace there, with my radio and Otto as a companion.-Karen.

  5. My dear Karen, I feel your shock and suffering. Just know that this is written. The pain will be absorbed gradually and at some point you will see this as a gift. Just give your grief space and definitely don’t judge yourself. You are an amazing woman. Love g.

    • Thank you so much dear Gretchen. It has been quite a journey which has been going on for two years now. In the middle of it all I chose to have an operation which meant I was grounded for a year. This was the first time I had stopped…ever! So all my manic defences were disabled! But something is slowly shifting now and just sometimes I think everything will turn out fine. It has to, because life is full of opportunities and interactions which can help us to change from the inside.
      I am so sorry to see that my reply to you had not been sent, I wrote it yesterday, but I must have failed to post it properly.
      I would like to be amazing, so I will think about that. Love Karen.

  6. Hi Karen, I feel the shock and the anxiety. Something similar happened to us a few days agao while on a wonderful cycling holiday around Lake Constance. Having arrived at out B&B for the night I checked if I could connect to the internet on my little, almost defunct iPod to find a brief email from a rare contact commiserating with us about the demise of our previous business which provides the bulk of our present income. The shock nearly made my heart stand still! Another Pandora’s Box! Love Annemarie

    • Oh Annemarie, I can not imagine the shock you must have felt hearing such earth shattering news. The manner in which you heard this, coming so totally out of the blue and when you were away from home is terrible.
      Love Karen.

  7. Karen we wish you well…. my wife and I have never been in the situation you find yourself in but we have been in situations where we feared the mail. That was five years ago; I opened up and shared my personal fears, not on a blog but something similar online where people didn’t know me or my wife. These total strangers helped me through twelve months of fear and anxiety and I drew my strength from them, so don’t be afraid of sharing your own fears,. My wife had breast cancer we only had support from our children and a very select few friends. Our family’s deserted us and left us to fight this battle alone. The support I had online from strangers “now very dear friends” was and is very special to me. You have chosen your words perfect to describe you own anxiety and you handled the situation admirably. Like you my wife faced her fears and took the battle on, she sees her oncologist for the last time in September and will officially declare her pandoras box closed,

    There is nothing finer than a walk in the early summer meadow to clear your mind and draw on your innerself. We hope you can soon close shut your pandoras box on your anxieties for good and get on with a life of your choice..

    I love your greenhouse too it puts mine to shame for sure and its just stopped raining after 3 days in South Yorkshire.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me, for your kind words and for sharing your story.
      I read your message last night and wanted to give myself time to ponder on the issues which your story raises.
      Firstly, I am so relieved to hear that you and your dear wife are almost at the end of the terribly painful journey which you have had to travel. Nothing is as terrible as facing serious illness in a loved one. And it is little spoken of, but the fear and strain on the partner of the person who is sick is overwhelming. You have both had to be very brave and I know there will have been dark times when no light could be seen.
      I wish I could understand why it is that some people just simply are not there when times are challenging. What is it they fear? I wonder if they have no empathy, or just do not know what to say? I have to say that if people do nothing, then I have to conclude that they do not care. I was brought up on the bible stories and was always struck by the tale of the Good Samaritan. Someone has to not walk away and I decided as a child that I never would.
      I worked in the hospitality industry for many years and I regarded it a privilege to look after people. And when customers became ill, or lost a partner, I sent food down to them and helped all I could.
      More recently, like you, my recent difficulties have seen me struggle and observe how quickly so called friends fell away. But the strength we can now draw, as you say from people who we have never met is inspirational! We find ourselves in a new world, where friendship and support is to be found in surprising places.
      None of us like our roots and security to be shaken, but I am just beginning to see that good things do eventually come out of tough times. I am so glad that you found help and support in your dark times and I thank you for the help you have given me.
      I am going to go in the garden now. I had a quick look at your blog just now and loved what I saw, especially the photos of your beautiful Grand daughter. I will visit soon. I really like what you do and loved your garden with the topiary on the left!
      Before I go, I must tell you something funny. I had a MASSIVE spike in my stats yesterday…and I have worked out why. I think it was the “armed combat” title! I had zillions of visits from the states! But not many “likes”. Perhaps we will see a big surge of interest in gardening in the armed forces as a result!
      All my very best wishes to you and yours, Karen.

      • What more can I say but thank you too Karen. About your spike on hits on your blog.. I wonder if the security services were checking you out.. maybe now they see how well a young lady can take on real life battles there will indeed be a surge in greenhouse strategy 🙂 I’ve not done much at all this week because of the bad weather we’ve had but tomorrow I will be taking “my boys” (eldest grandsons) out to Bolsover Castle tomorrow along with my camera so I hope to make a posting in the next couple of days. 🙂 you take care, Glynn.

  8. Hi Karen,

    I agree with KerryCan that it is a shame that he invaded your refuge by leaving the letter in your greenhouse. I felt like I was there with you when I read your post. I feelt you anxiety and heartbreak. My heart goes out to you in your hour of need. I hope that you know that you are not alone. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Yes you are rigft you will survive this. You will realize how strong you really are and that you are one step closer to building your new wonderful life. Take care of yourself.
    Your friend,

  9. I can feel your support and friendship and I thank you so much for that. I don’t think I have ever written anything which so poured out of my heart. It wrote itself really. I had something else ready to publish, but then I realised that it just had to be this new item, about the letter in the greenhouse. By the reaction to it, I have discovered what support I have and how many other people are faced with life changing situations every day. I was brave when I wrote the post, but have felt not so brave since. But you are right, I am “one step closer” to a better life.
    Your friend,

  10. Armed combat posts would attrack all sorts of people in the USA, as we have an active gun culture and military, both. I doubt it had much to do with military, however. They tend to be pretty professional about guns. I’m guessing that is why so many hits and so few likes.

    Yes, there are lots of good, caring people on blogs, and some few that are bad.

    Having been through a divorce, myself, I can say you are right, you become stronger and can look forward to better times coming. They do come! 🙂

  11. It was very exciting for a while to get so much traffic!
    Thank you so much for your kind words,. I may not have a large number of followers, but the ones I have, I feel I have a real connection with.I think the trouble is that very often we have little concept of things getting to be good again. But I think I can sense it now…somewhere in the future.

    • Thank you so much Vanessa. It is so true that the garden can heal many hurts and there is no doubt that my garden has benefited as a result.
      Although how ever hard I work, I never get it all done. I think you will understand that very well!

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