Holy. What a year. Possibly one of both the happiest and saddest of my life. Reviewing it now, it is equally blissful and heartbreaking.
The winter began hopeful if maybe a bit apprehensive. I had huge dreams for Sweet Woodruff (still do). It had been 6 months since I had quit my consulting job to do the ‘flower thing’ full time, and I felt restless. I was just so anxious. I wanted everything to be up and running. I wanted the website to be up, the store to be open, I just wanted it to be happening already. Rome wasn’t built overnight, or something like that. I tried to be patient. I tried to channel the impatience – turn it to motivation. Nancy, one of our closest family friends (and luckily my real estate agent) started looking at retail spaces with us. It was mostly exciting. Sometimes discouraging. But she was amazing, and with every disappointment she was there by my side, comforting me that we just hadn’t found it yet. She was right. When we finally found 889 Dundas and put our offer in I knew it was mine. I felt at ease in the space immediately. The day I signed the lease I cried. I was home.
As the winter melted away there was so much to be excited for. I went to New York. I studied more about flowers. I took classes. I met my flower idols and took them to lunch. I came back to a whirlwind. A whirlwind of painting, building, renovating, refinishing, transporting an old flower cooler in, then moving it out, then building a new custom one. That investment – that definitely made it real. My family and friends were amazing helping me get ready to open. We worked every night. Every day. Every weekend. When I opened the shop in May it was the happiest, proudest and most content I've ever felt. The feeling of actually achieving what I have always wanted to do, what I thought I would only ever dream of. There aren't words really. The weekend itself was madness. Besides opening the store, it was also my 29th birthday. And Geoff and I decided to move... that same weekend. Mayhem. Blissful mayhem. My aunt and uncle even came in from Vancouver to surprise me for the opening party. It was perfect.
These hot, crazy wedding filled months are simply a blur. I can't quite distinguish one from the other. If I’m being honest, I was ill prepared for how much work it would be, running a business. It is definitely the hardest I have ever worked in my life. And definitely the most exhausted I have ever felt. But also the most rewarding. I was lucky to find some relief as my team started to come together. Joanna and Jordana started towards the end of the summer and the weddings we did together – wow! We. Worked. So. Hard! Oh but the fun we had doing it. The dance parties, the delirious laughing fits as we worked late late into the night. The results of our all-nighters were beautiful, and some of the work I am most proud of. It would perhaps be a bit unprofessional to pick favourite weddings, but there were a few (you know who you are) and I loved them!
On Friday September 7th everything changed. Our dear friend, and Geoff’s best friend, Pete was in a tragic biking accident in which he suffered massive brain injuries. Pete was in a coma at St. Michaels Hospital for 2 weeks. We were there every day praying, wishing, hoping. On September 21st Pete succumbed to his injuries and passed away. Still, months later I am at a loss for words. The deep sadness and pain of losing Pete is still so sharp. It seems like a cliché and doesn’t come close to really capturing him, but Pete was such a special guy. The type of guy who really lived life. Who loved life. While we are still wrestling with the fact that he is gone, I try to remember his love of living every day and not take a minute of it for granted.
As 2012 ends...
Though this year is rolling out on somewhat somber note for me, I am nothing but grateful. So so very grateful. This is the year I opened my shop. A dream come true. And I did it only with the support of my family, Geoff, Patti, Gary, Tim & Steph. I love you guys.
Happy New Year to all of you! I hope 2012 leaves you with a sense of hope, an excitement to live life and do what you love.