Connecting with nature in The Christi Center's Healing Garden to heal grief

Healing Garden Spiral Path
Healing Garden Spiral Path with memorial stones

One of the greatest challenges of life, after the shattering experience of losing a loved one, is recreating a new life without them. Creating, maintaining, and spending time in a garden and reconnecting with nature not only helps in the transformation, it also brings a sense of peace and clarity amidst the chaos of powerful emotions.

Physical activity, social interaction, creativity, feeling the sun on your face, and observing nature can bring healing, self-growth, and a feeling of peace. Toiling the soil, planting seeds, watching our garden visitors, nurturing plants, weeding and caring for the garden helps us focus and frees us from the constant chatter of the mind.

Experiencing the life cycle of creation, death, and new life inspires a sense of hope, confidence, and relearning to care for ourselves.

With these intentions in mind, Angela Carver, a Christi Center client and volunteer, envisioned and designed a Healing Garden to transform the grounds around our offices.

Angela's Son, Sean
Angela’s Son, Sean

“On March 11. 1989 my whole life changed in an instant. My son, Sean, drowned in an apartment swimming pool three weeks after his 4th birthday. There are no words to express the depth of pain and sorrow I felt after his death.

When I first visited his grave, I couldn’t stand how bare it was, so I planted orange flowers. Orange was Sean’s favorite color. I spent many hours tending the little garden, working the soil, pulling weeds, watering, and watching the flowers grow and flourish, a symbol for his continuing life and growth.

I feel that working in my garden, taking a walk, gazing at the stars, or sitting by my waterfall clears my head of thoughts. Breathing in fresh air, enjoying wildlife activity, and drinking in the vibrant colors of flowers has brought me peace and I wanted to share that with the group.”

Wildflower Bed
Wildflower Bed in the Healing Garden

Quite simply, a Healing Garden is “a garden in a healing setting designed to make people feel better” (Eckerling, 1996). The goal of a healing garden is to make people feel safe, less stressed, more comfortable and invigorated.

The Healing Garden engages Christi Center volunteers and clients, providing them with the healing aspects that both volunteering and being active in nature can provide. It also provides clients, volunteers, and staff with a soothing, meditative place to meet, relax, eat, and rest.

The Christi Center Healing Garden provides another healing program for our clients, and a place of beauty in our neighborhood.

If you are interested in volunteering in our Healing Garden, please email Jocelyn Brown, Manager of Volunteer Resources.

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