The Value of Dirt Therapy and Good Friends

April 30, 2023

This was a hard week. My ex-husband died unexpectedly of a heart attack and my sons, and I were thrust into turmoil. Alex had the unfortunate role of meeting the police at his father’s apartment for the distressing welfare check. He was understandably shaken, and I went to be with him as soon as I could after learning the sad news. My youngest son, Andrew was at college, but I went to be with him as soon as we could find a break in his schedule and mine. Both of my sons had major assignments due in their educational programs and Andrew is due to graduate from college in three weeks. As we discussed plans to remember their father, it became obvious that they will need me to fill in gaps about their dad’s history for an obituary and even the simplest of memorials.

After three days of talking to and texting with Alex and Andrew about their dad and trying to support them as best I could with hugs, groceries, and positive stories of their father, I was spent. I decided that I needed to surround myself with good friends. I sent a text to Ellen, who had offered to help me. She texted others and within 2 hours, we had 5 friends show up at our house for an impromptu potluck. The playlist I made for the boys of their father’s favorite music made a great soundtrack for our conversations. I was able to process with these dear friends who have known me through years of challenging co-parenting and one set of friends who were even at that wedding in 1995 and knew Joe and I when we were happily married. I truly am one of the luckiest women around because I am part of a friend group that will do that: drop everything to be there in a crisis or come together in moments of celebration and joy.

The following morning, Kim, Ellen, Abbie, and I took a trip to the herb festival at Maymont Park. We spent several hours perusing herbs, shrubs, and stalls of gardening related products, all the while chatting about our lives. Friday it rained very heavily all day, and it was still a little damp and cool as we walked amongst the vendors. The air smelled amazingly fresh as the rain evaporated from the plants. I bought some new herbs to fill in gaps in my vegetable garden and an heirloom tomato, an exotic variety of cucumber and a snacking pepper plant called to me as well. By the time I got home, I felt like a huge weight had been removed from my shoulders. I spent an hour or more weeding and preparing the soil for my seedlings and got them all in the ground by midafternoon. The forecast called for more rain on Sunday, so I was motivated to help my plants to be ready for it. Nick and I ate at late lunch al fresco when I was done. It was a perfect Spring Day!

I have written before about using gardening as a tool for centering myself and the amount of pleasure I derive from seeing the fruits of my labor when I come home after a day at work. This weekend I got to combine my love gardening with girlfriend time, more than doubling the benefits of both activities. My sons are the literal fruits of my labor. Although their dad and I parted on rough terms 17 years ago, one thing we always shared was the love of our boys. As I planted the seedlings I purchased with my friends, I reflected on how very grateful I am for that marriage and the children that Joe and I chose to have together. I hope and pray that they will continue to grow and blossom long after their father’s departure.

Published by bmdavis1

I am a wife, mother of 2 grown sons, a school librarian and a certified yoga instructor. My hobbies include gardening, walking in nature and chasing around my two ornery cats.

One thought on “The Value of Dirt Therapy and Good Friends

  1. Beautiful post, Brooke. I’m so glad you had those friends to share Joe’s passing with. And what a lovely reflection of your gratitude for Joe because of the children you bore.
    Sending hugs,

    3440 Northridge Rd * Richmond, VA 23235 * * 804-339-0040

    Liked by 1 person

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