Garden Regrets and other Life Regrets

Between the ages of 17 and 27 I dated Justin off and on for almost 6 years.  It was alternately wonderful and dismal due to his depression and drug use, and my eagerness to rid him of those sufferings.


After taking a summer off at my mom’s house in Colorado, post graduate school mania, I came back to Tucson to move on with life in an “official” and “adult” manner.  Shortly thereafter I received an email from Justin saying how much he wished he had married me and addressed his personal issues.  I mentally met this communication with irritation and disgust.  After all, I had put in a lot of years to hear those words and had finally and completely thrown in the towel.  Instead of writing a reply, I waited a week to get my thoughts together.  I’m sure there was also a part of me that delayed in order to get the “I’m doing great without you” message across that happens at the jagged end of a relationship.


About thirty minutes after I finally sent a reply, which included nonsense like “I’m heading out to do some yard work and then some cooking and then the gym!”, I got a call from his good friend, who left a voicemail saying that he needed to talk to me about Justin.  Again, irritation, because I did not want to be pulled back into the position of helper/therapist/drug addiction specialist.  I had already done that at least a hundred times.


Without hearing from me in another hour, the friend called again, I picked up, and was told that Justin had died of an opiate overdose three days prior, and they had just found his body in his apartment.


There aren’t too many things I regret to any serious degree so far in life, but it’s a pretty substantial sadness I carry with me about not sending an immediate and compassionate email the same day I received word from him.  It may or may not have changed some things, but it would have been quick and easy and the better thing to do.


So I don’t have a quaint summary statement about drug addiction and the preciousness of life or anything like that.  But I do realize that life is full of both dark and light moments and I’d like to think I’m now more capable of summoning kindness on a regular basis.  You never know the place someone is sitting at any particular moment.


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Okay.  So I’m gonna go ahead and hop on over to the lighter side of life.  I definitely don’t mean to be flippant, comparing real sadness with garden and yard sadness,  but I guess what I’m trying to get across is the fact that lots of everyday problems and annoyances are so trivial.  We all know that.  I heard an interview with The Avett Brothers once, and they made the comment that in the moments the train isn’t going completely off the rails we should celebrate (and sing, loud).


On the celebratory note, here are some of the garden regrets I’ve experienced in the recent past/somewhat present: thinking sand can be a nice patio/lounge surface for the bare foot factor (nope, cat poop galore), planting trees so close together that they eventually have to be pruned “sad tuba” style or removed all together, planting and watering a whole bunch of vegetables that I don’t actually like to eat, planting trees with massive thorns where the mail person gets a scratched face/arm/body each day – so many things I could just write a blog on the mess-ups.  But the super duper thing is that this stuff can almost always be reasonably fixed.  Cultivated landscapes are great in that respect.  You can create and move and re-imagine, allowing the chance for very little, or at least temporary, regret.


If you’re looking at your space and pondering all the things you wish you wouldn’t have done, let’s get them fixed.  There are as many options as there are days.

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