Grief after losing a loved one is a very complicated process that each individual experiences in a unique way. Some people prefer to talk it out with friends, family members, or counselor. But not everyone wants to share their private thoughts and feelings while grieving. Often solace can be found through creating art or writing.
One option that is helpful employs gardening. Gardening is an especially healthy endeavor for older adults, keeping them active and providing a workout that benefits body and mind. Creating a memory garden combines the therapeutic value of physical movement with establishing a cherished place to honor and remember a loved one. Personal choices for the garden could be planting a tree, selecting a special plaque or just picking a serene spot that has meaning to you and your loved one. A recent blog post on eCaring.com suggested four easy steps to creating your memory garden.
Make Your Memory Garden
- 1. Pick your location – Your spot should include easy access, privacy and avoid uneven surfaces that may pose a fall risk. If you plan on planting, keep the light and watering requirement in mind.
- 2. If you do choose a plant – Did your loved one have a favorite flower? Are there memories you shared in a particular season of the year? Maybe a small red maple reminds you of a trip you took together to New England. If you were a caregiver, what colors or sights did your loved one like to have around them?
- 3. Choose a “remembrance object” – The object can be anything that serves as a reminder – a stone, statue or any object of special significance. Engraving a poem or favorite quote on a plaque is one choice.
- 4. Don’t forget comfort and privacy – You may choose to spend many quiet moments in this special spot, so remember it’s important to be comfortable. A small, weather-resistant wrought iron or teak chair would allow you to stay as long as you want. For added privacy, think about sheltering the memory garden with a trellis or small fence.