A Gift of Compassion. The Memorial Garden.

I have discovered that my hoarding of plants, seeds, and garden tricks has again served me well.  For years, trading clumps of our favorite plants or sharing bulbs in late fall brings gardeners together and even recruits new dirt diggers to the club.  It is the original “pay it forward” to help out a neighbor or friend by enhancing their collection.

Our long lived perennials fill in and establish themselves while our veggies and annuals give us a short lived thrill of color and bounty.  These cycles mirror our own life cycles.  Some people are blessed enough to see many seasons, but others fade all too quickly from our lives.

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Comforting those who have lost a loved one is always difficult.  The cliche spoken comforts often fall on numb ears.  By nature we want to comfort others and sometimes words just will not do.  That is how a group of us at work came to design our first memorial garden.

When a member of our work place family lost her daughter, we could only begin to imagine her sorrow and looked for opportunities to help in meaningful ways.  The memorial garden was born out of inspiration to create a space that would continue to grow and bring comfort in the darkest of times.

With her permission and location suggestion, we designed a memory garden in honor of her beautiful daughter.  Each of us contributed something special; labor, monetary donations, mulch, specimens from our own gardens and of course, love and prayers.  Throughout the year there are donations of more plants and some maintenance added to the garden.

photoPersonally, it’s the only time weeding isn’t so laborious.  (Misery is relative.)  I can’t always articulate my deep sorrows and joys to my friend.  However, when she pulls into her driveway after hours of pretending her heart isn’t broken, still trying to bring joy to her other children, she is greeted by our labors of love.  I then feel like our feelings are obvious.

After a death in the family, the guests eventually go home, the cards stop, and you are left alone to start trying to weave yourself back into a different life, searching for tiny slivers of happiness.  A memory garden reminds the living that they are loved and that life goes on with or without us.  A burst of color or fragrance on the air is the most simple of pleasures but one that they deserve.  In the memory garden, every passing season brings a little bit more color and little bit more hope for a peaceful heart.

This blog was written by Robin Copey, and inspired by Karen and Christal Jackson.

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