Starting From the Ground Up

The Rubble Remains in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

The Rubble Remains (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

The word foundation has several meanings; it can refer to a long time relationship built upon a solid foundation of love and trust, or it can mean the cosmetic foundation a woman applies to her face each morning.  In this case, foundation relates to my house, a house that was lost to an aggressive fire in January.  The fire that erupted at 4 a.m. on January 9th had an insatiable hunger and when it finally burned out nothing was left of our home.  Glass melted into ice flows.  Cookware was deformed as if viewed from a distorted mirror.  A few bits of fabric and random pieces of hardware were scattered amongst the ashes.  That, and a charred section of foundation, were all that remained.

Pansy 'Sangria Punch' in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Pansy ‘Sangria Punch’ is a sure sign of spring (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

This is my story of loss and renewal; though certainly not a new story.  Many have lost their home to flood, hurricane or fire.  I am hardly the first, nor the last, but hope that by sharing my experiences I may help others deal with great loss.  Perhaps I can provide an understanding voice and an optimistic view, gently guiding them through the many challenges that lie ahead.  And there are many challenges; from coping with the initial loss to making decisions of how and what are needed to move forward.

Spring tulips glow in the morning light in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Spring tulips glow in the morning light (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

I read an article recently, it’s interesting how you find these stories just when you need them most, and this one spoke about the process of Picking Yourself Up, Dusting Yourself Off and Starting Again.  Easier said than done, I agree, but doable just the same.  The premise of this article is that you look at your loss, your tragedy, your devastating occurrence as an opportunity to change and to grow.  To start anew.  Well my friends, when your house burns to the ground along with everything inside, you have no choice but to start anew.  And in some ways, that may not be a bad thing.

A Garden lost but not forgotten in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

A Garden lost but not forgotten (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Obviously, losing irreplaceable family heirlooms, pictures of your babies and love notes from your spouse is hard to accept.  It’s devastating finding a lifetime’s collection of clothing and accessories, cherished paintings and hand made mosaic mirrors transformed into heaps of charcoal. It’s tragic to see decades old plantings, once lush with life, burned to unrecognizable stumps.  But somehow you have to move on. You tell yourself that you will find other things-better things-and though I am sometimes doubtful, I understand that they are just that: Things.  Material objects. Possessions. They are not who I am.

Bright pink zinnias glow with promise in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Bright pink zinnias glow with promise (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Like the game of Heads or Tails, there are two sides to this coin you’ve been tossed.  There’s a downside to starting over again and an upside to starting over again.  The upside offers a chance to clear clutter.  To make revisions.  To use your experiences, skill set and maturity to take you to another level.  A different level.  One that is not necessarily better, but a variation.  Something fresh and new.  And if you allow it, possibly just what you need.  Change.

Forms set up for Foundation Walls in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Forms set up for the Foundation Walls (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

And so, change begins for us in the form of a slab of concrete; a simple concoction of sand, cement and aggregate.  A foundation to build our new home.  Not necessarily better, but different.  I welcome you all as we move forward into the world of the unknown . . . ♥


  1. Beautifully done! What a great attitude with your tremendous loss, lots of love!!!

  2. Such a thoughtful reminder that possessions are not the most important things in our lives. As I grow older, I realize that the real treasures in my life are family, dear friends and good health. You are truly an inspiration to me, not only as a gardener but as an example of how to cope with life’s tragic events. Wishing you all good things in this new phase of your life.

    • How right you are, Jean! The love and support of friends and family, combined with good health, is a recipe for true happiness. It’s the kind words from readers like you that help me through the difficult times ahead. Thank you for your wonderful friendship, it means the world to me.

  3. oh Kathy, what a beautifully written and heartfelt account of your loss. Your perspective is amazing and an inspiration to anyone (meaning everyone) who has had a major hit of “Life Interrupted”. I think I speak for all of your readers when I encourage you to keep us posted on the steps, as you take them, one at a time. We want to hear about anything you’re willing to share.

    • The truth of the matter, Dear Dina, is that I get as much inspiration from readers like you as you get from me. My cup runneth over with love and friendship. XX

  4. Kathy you are inspiring! The emphasis on what you have( a new start) vs what you lost. My childhood home burned this winter as well. We are reusing the foundation stones, and I’ve been digging up the old fashioned plants that grew there. Gardeners are resilient!

    • Thanks for sharing Jeanie! I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, but as you say, focusing on the future is the best way to move forward. And I love that you are incorporating foundation pieces and original landscape plantings into your new design. Those are the things that make a place a home. I wish you the best as you rebuild ~

  5. Tina Diemer says

    How blessed I feel that the kids and I were there not so long ago and cherish the time we spent sitting on the deck and creating memories. Now I look forward to what you and Ged are creating as you rebuild your home. So true what you say, about moving on…it is what needs to be done. New memories lay ahead, I hope to cherish in celebrating the renew!!

    • Thank you, Tina! Not a day goes by that we don’t think about all that we did NOT loose; the love of family and friends, and the many cherished memories created over the years within those walls, that can never be taken away. Those precious moments and the support of family and friends is what guides us through this most difficult journey, and help us to remain optimistic about the future as well ~

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

A Garden for All