Lessons in Self-care: I’m Keeping My Best Roses for Myself

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by Shellye Horowitz |

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This year, my flower garden has grown exponentially. A wonderful gift that “bloomed” from my COVID-19 boredom was the chance to develop my horticultural skills.

I increased my rose collection from six bushes to 14, and I added sunflowers, teddy bear sunflowers, zinnias, wildflowers, poppies, California poppies, marigolds, morning glories, dahlias, lavender, hydrangeas, and wild pansies. I went crazy!

It was so good for my soul to grow these flowers. Watching them sprout then mature into flowers gave me something to look forward to while the surrounding world seemed so chaotic. Time spent in my garden became meditative. It allowed me to find mindful moments in which I let go of all other thoughts as I focused on the care and growth of these gorgeous living things.

Needless to say, my garden bloomed with abundance and continues to give me beautiful blossoms, even in October. It has been gorgeous! I love watching my neighbors’ reactions as they walk by. I realized my garden was not only bringing me pleasure, but spreading joy to those around me as well.

(Courtesy of Shellye Horowitz)

Sharing the joy

At the beginning of the summer, I started sharing flower bouquets. I made a few bouquets for my home and gave many away. I collected glass bottles so I would have more makeshift “vases” to use for the flowers. I gave away the most gorgeous arrangements and my extra flower starts (young flowers ready to be planted). 

(Courtesy of Shellye Horowitz)

It was interesting to watch how different individuals interacted with the flowers and starts. Some took great care of their gifts. In fact, some replanted their starts, and they grew larger than the flowers in my own garden! Some let the starts die. Vases of flowers were brought into homes and placed in prominent spaces, while others were left outside to wither in the hot sun.

(Courtesy of Shellye Horowitz)

Blooming flowers, dead flowers

I took great joy in seeing recipients cherish their bouquets and starts. It was hard to see these flowers, labors of love and passion, tossed aside to die. I had to separate my act of giving from the way others chose to handle the act of receiving.

I had control over my garden and my generosity, but I could not control how the flowers would be received or cared for once out of my hands. I needed to be OK with this.

After a few months, I realized I was taking the time to grow these flowers: It was OK to keep the best rose bouquet for myself and give the others away. Placing myself first does not come easily to me.

As I allowed myself to enjoy my best flowers, I found I cared less about how others took care of the flowers I gifted them. When I prioritized myself, it was easier to let go of what was happening elsewhere. This was a powerful lesson for me.

(Courtesy of Shellye Horowitz)


I also learned a lesson about self-care. It is OK to put ourselves first. Sometimes, those of us with hemophilia or other chronic illnesses forget to give ourselves permission to self-advocate. As women with hemophilia, we often have to advocate for years to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.

There are times when we need to put ourselves and our physical and emotional health first. We are better able to care for and interact with others when we ourselves are whole. We are able to grow and blossom, and our success becomes an example and inspiration for those who journey after us.

I hope you water your garden and keep your best roses, too!


Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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