The name of our flower shop, Hive & Hollow, got its inspiration from a druid animal oracle card. The bee. The epitome of community and celebration. I knew I wanted the shop to be a focal point in our community, a buzzing hive where people could gather, do healthy and productive work, celebrate our collective creativity, and give back and strengthen the community at the same time. The hollow is the counterbalance. While I knew I would thrive on the buzzing of a hive, I also knew I would need quiet and solitude. Our wooded spot has a little hollow where we grow some of the flowers for the shop and have some time for quiet rejuvenation. And so was born, Hive & Hollow.
This July, nine months after opening, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the name came alive in a way I never could have predicted. I found myself at the center of a buzzing hive, but not at all in the way I had envisioned. I was completely floored by the flood of support from our community, embarrassed almost, at the magnitude of outpouring. Not just in a thoughts and prayers (which are also truly appreciated) kind of way, but meaningful, intentional support. People hauled my kids all over the place, even took them on trips, stocked our freezer with healthy, convenient soups and casseroles, and brought warm meals during the rough weeks. A volunteer coalition of customers (many I had only known since opening) staffed the shop, not just for a week, but for a solid month and a half, as complications and surgery after surgery kept me at home or hospitalized. Former co-workers came from far and wide to help me fulfill weddings I had committed to before I knew I had cancer. Farmers donated flowers for us to sell. People brought goodies, fancy body care, scarves, teas, books, stones, crystals, cards, shawls, meaningful trinkets. Friends weeded our gardens, cleaned our house top to bottom. I did not have to ask for any of this, not once. This is real privilege. A strong community, incredible friends.
How many are out there that do not have this? It keeps me up at night. I can’t imagine going through this alone. I can’t say thank you enough, I have infinite gratitude, and I don’t know where to place it. I can only hope that the opportunity will arise where I can show up for someone in the way that our community has shown up for me.
I now have a small way that I can help others going through this. My dear friend and neighbor, Margaret Paulson, is running the New York City marathon in November in my honor and is raising money for the American Cancer Society, an organization that helps insure people and families going through cancer get what they need. Please consider supporting her efforts.