Coping with a lost loved one in Calvin Park
For most gardeners, Calvin Park Community Garden is a refuge. They use words like “relaxing”, “pleasing” and “positive” to describe the space. Even coordinator Cheryl Fischer agrees that the garden has become her “happy place” since it’s opening in 2011.
But for other gardeners Calvin Park is a place of remembrance. Eden comes to the garden to honour her late husband Bill, who had been a dedicated gardener for years. “My husband came to Calvin Park since it began,” Eden tells me. “I thought I would keep up [gardening] for his memory.”
Eden and Bill would have been together 43 years this summer, had he not passed last year. “It’s been very hard,” says Eden. “We used to do so many things together. Now I do so many things to keep him off my mind.”
Despite these tough times, Eden says she’s lucky to have great familial support. “My two boys will come here and visit the garden. Or they will call me,” Eden tells me. “I don’t know how I would survive without them.”
I have only just met Eden, but I see a strong woman. I watch as Eden cares meticulously for her husband’s garden, and then tends to the communal garden. I watch as she wheelbarrows mulch for fellow gardeners. I listen as she gives me tips for gardening and for life.
Biking home I realize that community gardens connect us to nature. Bill established a relationship with the land as he planted, watered and grew in Calvin Park. Now that he has passed, Eden and her sons develop their own relationships with the land.
These bonds with nature help calm us, feed us and fulfill us. They also remind us of nature’s importance. So whether it’s for fun, food, or remembrance, spend time at community gardens (or anywhere outside!) and improve your overall health and happiness.
Calvin Park Community Garden is located on land donated by the United Church. Open to everyone. They welcome you to check out their website (cpgardeners.blogspot.com).
Location: 200 Norman Rogers Drive (Cooke’s-Portsmouth United Church Property)