Saying Good-Bye to the Roses Before We Move

by Judy Stone-Goldman on October 15, 2014

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new rose garden new home

Getting to know my roses in 1994

When you prepare to move out of a house, you face many good-byes. You start to notice characteristics of your home that you will miss, a favorite view from a window, the pathway from the recycle bin to the door, the way light falls into the living room. You start to realize how much you connect with the outside world through the protection of your home: the way rain sounds when pounding on the roof, how sunbursts after a storm create yellow beams in the backyard, how summer sunsets shoot blinding light through the southwestern exposure. And you wonder what you will miss: will the branches on our Douglas fir swoop a bit lower with snowfall this winter? Will the back deck be covered with pebbles of hail or glistening splinters of frozen rain? Will the western sky grow purple with winter sunsets?

And then there’s the rose garden. I have loved my roses and seen myself through their flowering. I have fretted over them, regretted them (fertilizing was a not-so-favorite task), nurtured them, appreciated them, connected with them. I have photographed them, written about them, and plumbed their metaphors. I have seen them grow old over our 20 years in this home.

Now I am saying good-bye to my roses. As the season wanes, the finality becomes clear.

roses end-of-season last bud before our move

One final bud for 2014

The last bud. The last rose.

roses end-of-season final before our move

One last rose for our life in this house.










I do not know if future owners will tend this garden or choose to create something new, and I don’t feel invested in their choice. What I want most is to be conscious of this ending and grateful in saying good-bye. In that spirit, here are my thanks to my roses:

Thank you for being so hardy when I was a novice.

Thank you for blooming so beautifully!

Thank you for bringing color to our yard.

Thank you for giving me the motivation to get dirty and touch the ground.

Thank you for connecting me to others (and thank you to all who gave me gardening tips).

Thank you for inviting me into the pleasures of pruning (and for helping me understand the relationship to myself).

Thank you for offering your leaves to ladybugs.

Thank you for swaying happily in front of passers-by who commented on you.

Thank you for opening my eyes to all the other beautiful flowers in gardens everywhere.

I thought about cutting the final rose and bringing it into the house. But I decided to leave it in the garden, its home, receiving the rain and the diminished sunlight of autumn. I look at it every day as I go out and come in, and I will keep saying good-bye until the last petal drops to the ground.

 Do you have any good-byes in your life now?

Questions for Reflection: What good-byes, transitions, changes, or losses are in your life now? What would you like to be conscious of, and grateful for, as you change and grow?

Writing Prompts: “This post makes me realize that it’s time to say good-bye to ______” (then keep writing); “I am acutely aware right now of changes in my ______” (then keep writing); “When I have to say good-bye to an important part of my life, I find it helpful to ______” (then keep writing); “I am suddenly aware that I need to be conscious of the ending around ______” (then keep writing).

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate Krings October 17, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Hi Judy,
Both this post and the post about your Laura Ingalls Wilder books have been quite moving to me. You manage to find beauty and meaning in the everyday things around. It is quite inspiring. Best of luck with your move!


Judy Stone-Goldman
October 21, 2014 at 10:49 am

Kate, Finding meaning in the ordinary elements of daily life brings me closer to myself. I haven’t thought about this so directly, but I think I finding beauty and meaning in the simplest aspects of life makes me at peace within. I’m so happy you connected with the post on the Laura Ingalls Wilder books! Those books are special, and I think there’s an automatic bond among those who remember them so fondly.


William+Charlebois October 18, 2014 at 10:53 am

This brings back so many memories of our first house. We lived near the end of a dead end street. We had a small front yard. It was perfect for putting up a white picket fence, and then filling it in with beautiful flowers. My favorites were the David Austin antique roses I ordered through a catalog. They were breathtaking in bloom. One white rose was a continuous bloomer. In my opinion, it was the perfect garden. Unfortunately, we only lived there for 7 years. The house didn’t have a basement, and having four children, we decided we needed a basement for the kids to play in if we were going to remain sane. We’ve lived in our present house for 20 years now. We had no idea when we bought the house that the ground was practically solid clay. Hardly anything I plant survives. We haven’t had the money to bring in good dirt. Those four kids kept getting more expensive as they grew up. All of this is a long way of saying, I certainly understand what it takes to say goodbye to your roses!


Judy Stone-Goldman
October 21, 2014 at 10:53 am

Bill, I have such a wonderful image of you with your antique roses! I guess your garden now is your art, and no doubt your past experience cultivating blooms is adding to your creations now. I know your work brings forth wonderful color, just as a flower garden would. Glad you chose to stay sane and get yourself a basement! Since I wrote that blog post we’ve had heavy rains, and those last petals are now on the ground.


Sherryl Perry
October 25, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Wow Judy! This is a lovely post. Other than two apartments, this is the only house I’ve ever lived in since we got married back in ’74. We often talk about moving when we retire. I’m sure we will miss certain things (just as you say) and not miss others.

My husband is the gardener in the family and we have a gazebo, a large koi pond (complete with waterfall and home to many frogs), a bamboo grove, vegetable garden and plants galore. I’m sure we’ll miss that but even more, we’ll miss the memories we made here and the neighborhood that my children grew up in.

I’m so glad that I visited your blog today! This was a nice distraction.


Judy Stone-Goldman
October 31, 2014 at 10:15 am

Hi Sherryl, So glad you liked the post. Your garden sounds wonderful, especially the loi pond with frogs! Yes, it’s hard to say goodbye to the homes that have been so much part of our life. The work of moving is monumental, but so is the emotional journey. Thanks for visiting here today!


Liz+Gow November 2, 2014 at 12:37 am

Dearest Judy
What a moving tribute to your life, your home, your garden. I had feelings of your descriptions of the roses as if they could be likened to a life’s journey, a person’s journey. It had me think of my own journey and although I have not written the replies to the responses they had me reflect with something big I am letting go of too. I also recognize that although I am so grateful to be moving on, I feel little grief too and that’s ok. I am so ready and what a monumental journey you have been on in this transitioning and moving into your new home. Inspiring. Many thanks. 🙂 xx


Judy Stone-Goldman
November 2, 2014 at 8:08 am

Liz, I’ve found so many opportunities in this move to discover full stories within single items or experiences. As you say — a life’s journey within the roses. In fact, I’m seeing that all my belongings tell me something about myself, and the decision to keep or discard something is full of many questions about where I am and what will be part of my life. Letting go is a complex matter, at least for me! Some days are full of sadness and other days transformed by the energy of what lies ahead. I love that you relate to this process along with me. Glad to have you here.


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