{Creating a Memorial Garden Space}

Yesterday my family experienced a sudden and unexpected loss that has shaken me. Since I am deeply saddened and will be processing this loss for some time, I have decided to create a peaceful and healing space to remember my loved one.

My Grandma Helen and I - Memorial Garden
My Lovely Grandma Helen and Me (with some of her floral centerpieces in the background) – August 2014

My grandmother Helen was a strong, faith-filled woman who was very passionate about her hobbies and interests. She loved to decorate for Christmas like it was her job [and I’m talking multiple months spent decorating to achieve contest-winning results], she loved making seasonal and holiday wreaths for people [and had paying customers because of her creativity and craftsmanship], she loved singing, baking and making flower arrangements for her church [among other volunteer efforts], and she loved gardening.

Oh, how she loved gardening. When I was a little kid, I remember playing in her backyard while she watered her plants and told me about them. I’ll admit that I was more intrigued by the ladybugs and butterflies at a young age, but I loved the time with her and in recent years I gained my own appreciation for flowers. Though I still have a lot to learn because I do not have my green thumb yet. I remember one time in our first home as a married couple, I called to talk to Grandma Helen and asked her for advice on how to care for my transplanted rose bushes. Since I was an adult in that conversation (compared to the child in the garden), I got even more insight into her self-taught extensive knowledge of gardening. That was one of our longest calls ever and I really cherished it because I got to learn more about her and really hear the passion come through in her voice.

In memory of my gardening Grandma Helen, I want to create a sacred space in my next yard where I can go and smell the flowers she was fond of and feel her presence. I already have a backyard location in mind: a shaded, receded corner with the best view of the woods. Perhaps I will add a bench and create stepping stones with pieces of mosaic glass from something special that belonged to her (such as a broken but cherished Christmas ornament).

Grandparents' Day Before H.S. Graduation
Grandparents’ Day Before H.S. Graduation

I have decided to begin planning my memorial garden so that when it comes time to meet with my landscaper in a few months, we will be able to use my memorial garden inspiration to create a special space to remember my dear grandmother. I believe that in this project and through the care of my trees, plants and flowers, I will find myself connected with her.

I know I can rest assured that there will be at least one singing angel with me in my memorial garden.

Grandma,

You are so loved and will be so missed.

Love Always,

Ashley Renee

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