I believe in cobalt blue windowsills.
As my husband lay dying, I had little time and no energy to worry about household décor. We had lived in our house for twenty years, filling it with music and art, love and laughter; too busy with our lives and each other to do much more than make sure that our furniture was comfortable and our rug was vacuumed once in a while.
But now he is gone, and I have the job of rebuilding my life in a way that will some day lead me back to happiness and fulfillment.
I started in the bathroom, where twenty years of steamy showers left the wallpaper peeling, the cabinets yellowed, and the faucet leaking. I may not be able to strengthen my shaky job prospects or do much more than chip away at the staggering medical bills left by the months of his hospitalization, but I can make this little corner of my life better. I may not be able to fill the gaping hole at the center of my heart, but I can patch the holes in the drywall.
On New Year’s Eve I painted my bathroom windowsills bright cobalt blue. They are not the most logical place to start a bathroom rehab, or the most urgent thing to fix, but they are an instantly visible promise to myself that things will change for the better.
My cobalt blue windowsills are a symbol of defiance; a bold statement of my belief that I am not powerless in the face of my grief, that my efforts are not all in vain, and that someday my life will once again be filled with peace and beauty and order.
On days when my mood is dark, I can paint my cabinets white. On days when I feel most alone, I can call a friend to help me fix my faucet. On days when I can barely drag myself out of bed, I can at least strip off that ugly old wallpaper.
My bathroom has begun to take on a new look that my husband would never have dreamed of, and the changes have spread to the kitchen and even the stairwell. As I transform this house we shared into something that I alone have made, I am transforming myself into a new woman, with new experiences, new skills, and new goals.
That’s why I believe in cobalt blue windowsills.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.