Jan and I were different in so many ways. Most of our likes and dislikes were totally opposite and I always maintained that this was why we were so close. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? But I think our disagreements created a positive energy in our marriage that just resulted in raising the level of our love and excitement for each other. But we did have one love in common – the love of gardening. In the spring we would both work from day to night in various parts of the yard only getting together every so often to admire each other’s work. The results were always spectacular! Since losing Jan my own gardening has become both a tremendously lonely experience and one that brings me constantly closer to her. The first summer after losing her I worked harder than I ever did to create a garden that was good enough to dedicate to her. The problem was that there was nobody there to see it. Gardening provides so many metaphors for the grieving process. Only gardeners really understand the amount of planning, tending, preparation, digging, deadheading, and other work that goes into creating a garden. The same amount of this hard work goes into the grieving process.
The cycle of perennial gardening is the perfect example of life itself. You plant it, it grows, you nourish and feed it, it flourishes, and then it fades, and finally dies away. But then it’s reborn again the next season. I think of Jan as being reborn and reunited with me with each plant that I nurture each year. Using the gardening as a metaphor in that way provides me with tremendous comfort. Perhaps it’s good that I garden alone now because most people would probably think I’m crazy when I talk to my plants as if they were my best friend