Sittin’ in the Gazebo

I was sitting in the gazebo this morning nursing my coffee and listening to the birds chirping, squirrels racing around (doing whatever squirrels do) and the occasional buzz of a bee. I surveyed the terrain. Thanks to a lot of effort by my son and grandchildren, evergreen tree No. 7 has been planted, the roses have been cut back, re-planted or newly planted, one for each of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A quiet breeze cooled what was a humid May morning.

Life is good. With the exception of watching the ocean waves roll in and out, sitting here in the gazebo is the best “quiet time” around.

Of course, if I’m in the gazebo, that must mean Karen is in the gazebo. I mean, you just can’t just sit there alone.

2015-05-27 07.52.08I moved Karen from her perch on the mantel over the weekend … after the bulk of the yardwork had been done.

I was tempted to move her out a couple of weeks ago after the time change and when fickle Miss Spring made a brief appearance before heading back to warmer climes. But I knew the brambles and winter clutter would have driven her crazy … and who wants to be haunted during “quiet time.”

In a real sense, Karen is there — not just ash, but in spirit — be it in the gazebo during the spring-summer of on the faux fireplace mantle in the fall-winter.

For those of you who don’t know the history, Karen and I {mostly Karen} dealt with most end of life issues while she was still with us. She picked out our urns — matching bronze side by side repositories connected by interlocking circles — and we made pre-planning funeral arrangements. What we didn’t do was decide on a final resting place. Karen wanted me to pick a spot so the kids could ultimately visit if they so desired. I wasn’t willing to do anything so … permanent.

So, after she died, I made a special place for her on the mantel of our electric fireplace. And I purchased a gazebo {after a disaster trying to build one myself}, and each spring since, I move her outside. Each fall, she would return inside for the winter and so on.

Each morning, I go either outside or into the living room to read and reflect {I’m working on Daniel and the apocryphal writers} and have my coffee and breakfast with Red. I still continue to share a cartoon. And I have laughed with her, cried with her and talked to her. She may not be with me in the flesh, but I sense her spirit — and her counsel — even after six-plus years.



The first Christmas after Karen died, I opted to take the grandkids on an adventure to the Radio Music Hall Traveling Christmas Spectacular in Cleveland, OH. I didn’t have time or was in the mood for a Christmas tree, so I decided to purchase a living tree. I went to a Christmas Eve service, came home, decorated the modest four foot tree, enjoyed it for Christmas and spent Christmas night taking the decorations off so the tree could be moved outside while I headed for Ohio.

Each Christmas since, I have purchased an evergreen — although after the first few years, I’ve just planted them around the gazebo. Each has an ornament indicating it’s year of planting.



My, how those trees have grown! And I’ve run out of room around the gazebo. I’m not sure what I’m going to do this year.

The other backyard tradition is a rose bush for each of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. That’s 18 rose bushes for the grandchildren and two for the great-grandchildren. As I surveyed the bushes earlier this spring, I thought I needed five replacements and two for the great-grandchildren. But as we started to dig up the old, barren bushes, we discovered just a hint of new life on two of them, so I ended up with two extra rose bushes {no, that’s not a hint!}. We found a spot for them on the side of the house “for decoration”.

This is still her “home” so I’m comfortable with the decision I’ve made. If the kids or grandkids want to spend some time with her, she’s here. And when I’m gone, my ashes will rest next to her and I’ll leave the decision of where we permanently settle up to the kids.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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4 Responses to Sittin’ in the Gazebo

  1. Jim Matthews says:

    The beach season is nice.
    Catholic men for Jesus Christ guys meet at Kelly’s in Neptune
    Wed before first Friday.
    Nice talk bagels and coffee in basement no grog just reflection.
    Priests , now and again a Minister even a Rabbi.
    Call me if you are headed Jersey Shore way.
    Jim Don Bosco Tech 1978

    James Matthews
    P.O. Box 227
    95 South Main Street
    Marlboro,NJ 07746


  2. TamrahJo says:

    Beautiful! My Dad chose cremation, but is ‘buried’ in permanent place, cuz he though other folks might like/need a special spot to visit – My son was buried traditionally because none of the other loved ones could bear or stand the thought of him being handled otherwise. I live 4 blocks from where they both ‘reside’ and only visit once or twice a year – but I talk to them every day –
    “Did you see that?” “Hey! Did you just laugh too?” “Now what?!? I miss you so much” – – I enjoy their presence in my mind and heart ever so much- thank you for sharing – and like to believe Karen appreciates you didn’t move her out to view (and then feel the need to remind you of) all the spring yard work to do – – cuz she sounds like a really nice lady! 🙂


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