Some people talk about tending a garden like it’s a spiritual path, somehow leading to heaven on earth. I’m one of those people; even more so after the death of my beloved daughter Kimmie just a few months ago. From feeling the dirt rolling through my fingers, to my connection with the spot I clear as a home for the bulbs, I know in a matter of days, with a little attention and some tender loving care, I will enjoy immense beauty, smell the fragrances of life, find nourishment and be brought closer to God. I can sit in my garden, planted with love in silent partnership with my son, and remember my daughter who brought a light to all those with whom she came into contact.
For years, but even more so after this past season of loss, I have rejuvenated myself within the splendor of my garden, now aptly named “Kimmie’s Garden.” Starting with an idea, designing an arrangement, and peacefully anticipating the feelings the bouquets and fresh vegetables will provide me, I am able to experience more profoundly that death is only one season followed by rebirth. Rich in colors and textures, seedlings spring forth to nourish every guest. From hidden beginnings tucked securely in their beds to ripe maturity, each little life adds something adorning and reaffirming to the world at large. Like my Kimmie, this little spot of beauty puts a smile on the face of all those in its presence. It’s a spot of respite and reassurance in a world that is harsh. Despite Kimmie’s medical struggles, she was the one always lifting up, the one whose joyful countenance could change your perspective in a second. Her spirit fills this space.
By doing this, he released me to grieve but also to celebrate life. Now, I use my hands to weed and prune, harvest and share, but it is my heart that yields fruit. I’m excited now that my flowers bloom and grow and vegetables sprout. One by one, each member of the garden greets the morning dew. Noticing them as I wander through, I stand at their side to welcome them to the day. I am overwhelmed by the joy I get from something so simple and breathtaking at the same time. I am overwhelmed by these moments I share with Kimmie –me here and her there, but still together in this garden.
If I could pass the love of gardening on to someone else, I would be certain I had made a tangible contribution to humanity. As others before me have discovered, nature speaks a unique language all its own. It gives so much and takes so little in return. My garden is a gift from God and it soothes the soul.