Photo by Mary

The Style Crone is in the rose garden to mark the passage of the decision to remove her very pedicured toe from the health care arena.  I continued to work a few days a month after retiring from my full time position four years ago, well into Nelson’s diagnosis.  I was uncomfortable with separating myself completely from the work that had brought me so much satisfaction and fulfillment.  As a master’s level psychiatric nurse I was able to work in areas that reflected my values and offered vast amounts of diversity and compelling experiences over many years.  Not only was it a large part of my identity, but maintaining a position offered the possibility of increasing my hours to provide resources if an experimental treatment should become available and Nelson could be miraculously snatched from the jaws of death at the last moment.  Having worked in health care since 1961, this is a major transition. However, I am at the point where traumatic stories are difficult to absorb, and I now want to focus on discovering my new journey.  I do not currently have the energy or the desire to move forward with my evolving ideas, but through the fog of grief and disorientation of loss I see a vision of new life ahead. Even in the darkest of moments a dim light beacons before me;  I trust that it’s signaling a new path approaching rather than a train running swiftly down the tracks in my direction.  What will this life look like?  Who will I be?  How will I feel without caregiving as my focus, both at home and at work?  How will I move forward without the support and love of my life partner?  Questions to be answered in the months and years ahead.  The roses in the garden, the roses on my long patterned skirt, and the rose on my vintage black straw cocktail hat with veil are blooming in loving support.


  1. This picture is stunning and such a great shot of a woman who still has much to give in this life….there is still so much for you to experience and share with others. You are here for a purpose….the light ahead is poised to share that purpose. You are such a beauty who has blessed so many and I believe can still be used as a blessing for many more.

  2. I makes me so happy to read your post. I can add nothing. You know so very well what to do.
    I am just very glad that you are moving while you grieve.
    My love and admiration always, my dear Judith.

  3. Beautiful Judith – Writing from Berlin, where I am visiting family but trying to stay in touch with events back home in the States. Yes, you have entered the mystery, but I ray it will not be long before the answers – or at least the direction – becomes clear. I applaud your choice to do what you need now, which means serving / nurturing yourself as this transition continues to unfold. You have so much to give the world, thru your eyes and heart that see & then reflect/exude beauty and wisdom. Like your friends and other readers, I am excited to see where you will be led, and encourage you to take all the time you need to get there.

    You are a vision in this photo! SUCH beauty. Thank you for being the radiant soul you are! Sending you love, strength & light across the miles…

  4. PS and I am sure I am not the only one who wondered what hue that pedicured toe sports… 🙂

  5. The Rose Lady continues to bloom. This picture is so beautiful and it is obvious to me that whatever your future holds, it will include the creation and sharing of beautiful outfits as art.

  6. Judith, you look so beautiful in that photo!. Truly, you appear one with the garden. Much good fortune to you as you move forward in life’s journey.

  7. Beautiful roses in the rose garden. You among them. You have a level head and I have faith you know your way thru the roses and beyond.

  8. A beautifulrose between roses …. I am happy that you are finding your way slowly. I am happy that you share this process with us.

  9. Dear Judith:

    You are on the path to healing . . . I am sure that you know that often the most stunning blooms appear after painful pruning. Take whatever time is necessary to nurture your inner core and feed your spirit. You are an amazing woman and you and Nelson were so lucky to have had each other. No one knows what the future holds but yours, I believe, will lead you back to love and joy. I feel this most deeply.

    Warmest wishes, always,


  10. Oh how we love to see the Rose Lady smile! You have done excellent work, stood tall and straight through the journey and emerge now to bloom again. Lovely picture, and reminds us that the best roses come from good stock, tender care, mature bushes and bit of, well, you know… welcome back. Carolyn

  11. Judith, you are so wise. I’m heartened to read your words and know that you are taking care of yourself in this very difficult time, and being open to whatever new shape your life will take. You are a bloom among the blooms.

  12. Time to bloom in a new garden. Sometimes it is important to recognize the need to move in a different direction. Whatever yours will be, I’m sure you will make it wonderful and inspiring to those around you.

    Much love from England,

  13. What a beautiful photo of you! I am very interested in this new part of your journey…as I begin to think seriously about retirement. By nature I am an introvert and without a job that requires social interaction, I worry about myself without a professional connection. I also worry about ever having to face life without my partner. I am very interested in journey…

  14. You are the loveliest bloom in the garden (although you look like you have lost weight, which would be understandable). I’m sure it must feel as if the ground is no longer solid beneath you, but you are a truly amazing woman who has so much to give, and you will find the path that is meant for you with time. I’m glad to hear that you are taking care of yourself, and from the other comments it is obvious that you have so many people who love and support you as well.

  15. Judith,
    You are lovely in the roses wearing your roses. You look so fragile, just like a rose.
    Your words are beautiful. I so admire your ability to create pictures with your words.

  16. I marvel at how appropriate your message is for me today as I read it (a few days after you posted it). Today is my first day away from work with an employer I have been with for over 26 years. I’m starting to find my way toward whatever might be next for me, and like you I’m somewhat disoriented, not sure what the next chapter will present or even how I will stumble in to the storyline that will convey me. I’m taking care of myself, working the process, accepting the love and support of those in my life, and taking it one day at a time. I can’t know what is ahead, but I can be prepared to embrace it.

  17. Your beautiful photos and wise writings have endeared you to so many. I hope that your future path includes a book describing how you have navigated through the often difficult road life takes us and how you began this journey. It would be something to treasure.

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