It was at a Christian
Writer’s Conference in Memphis, Tennessee that I met and talked with
Catherine Chappell Lewis about her co-authored book, They That Sow in
From the beginning, I knew
it was a unique project—one I had heard nothing about in the past—a book
about coping with grief through gardening. The two authors had both lost
children to serious illnesses. Both of them—the Sandifers and the Lewises—had
been friends for about 30 years, and their families naturally shared their
grief with each other.
Out of this grief was born
a response to it. Each of them began to notice that by planting a memory
garden, they found consolation in their gardening. They wanted to share
their love of gardening with others as well. They felt a need to tell
others how planting a beautiful tribute to loved ones could give pleasure
and comfort by getting others outdoors and involved in the ‘healing activity
of gardening.’ They chose as the title of their project, a portion of the
line from Psalm 126:5, ASV: “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”
I know the most important
question that one would ask, (and which I thought of also), was: How can a
garden help? The answer to that is given head-on, in the first chapter on
“When you can’t find the words, or no one seems willing to listen, a garden can help you express your feelings.”How and when, I next considered asking. Then I read these excerpts from page 4:
Many schemes and ideas for memorial gardens are explored. Here is the ‘Garden for Rachel’ which holds her remains in an urn, buried beneath a special place in the garden.
There are ideas for statuary, flowers for butterflies, container gardens, and tips for artistic displays, balance, symmetry and the like—all important elements of gardening presented in simple, easy-to-understand and not demanding drawings and charts. And as it says in the afterward of this book, “Although a garden cannot take the place of a loved one, we do believe that creating something beautiful in the natural world can provide great comfort while you wait for time to dull the pain of your loss.
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