Many years ago, I experienced some of the most life changing grief. It was the kind of grief that tears at your very being, the kind that forces you to become aware of the finite nature that is our very existence on this planet. It was the kind that lives in you constantly.
For myself, this grief drove me into busy. It wasn’t always healthy busy but it insulated me from that sharp pain living inside me. This is where my heart and mind were when Food is Free Albuquerque was born. I buried myself in the trees and in the fruits. I could not become consumed when I was shielded under those trees.
During the summer of 2014, I went on a journey all the way to the most Northern part of Idaho. Myself and a dear friend drove for hours to our destination. We laughed until we cried and sometimes we just cried. Together we were going to say our final goodbyes to one of our dearest friends. We were going for ourselves, each other, and for the loved ones we had lost.
The day we arrived in a small little town in Northern Idaho, the sun was shining and it was a lush early summer day. We made our way to the cemetery, tucked away on the outside of town and made our way to our sweet friend. Along our journey, we had collected for her a bouquet of purple flowers and trinkets. Our gift was finalized for her with a strand of purple string, taken from my hair of all places. She had loved my hippy ways and always encouraged me to be myself; so this seemed a very fitting finish to what we had brought for her.
With heavy hearts, the pain of our grief, and the tears of loss we walked to her.
There was her name, memorialized for all who walked these rows. She had loved the color purple, I can still hear her say how much she loved it. So we gently laid down our gift next to her name.
We sat with her in the green grass to share the stories of her, of our journey there, and to grieve. We had not been there long when a dragonfly came to perch on the plant hanger. At first I paid it no mind, it wasn’t until our visit had surpassed an hour and it was still there. We sat for hours that day. The dragonfly did not leave. It wasn’t until it was time to say goodbye, that it finally took flight and left.
Out of curiosity and my belief in symbolism I searched what a dragonfly represented.
“The Dragonfly has been a symbol of happiness, new beginnings and change for many centuries. The Dragonfly means hope, change, and love.”
I wish I could put into words what this meant to me but symbolism is something that is personal to each person. It’s for each of us to take what we shall from things like this.
Upon my arrival home, some of the ache in my heart had been left in that space but not all. I began incorporating dragonflies & purple into all of my art to honor my dear friends.
This brings us to now -2020.
A year which came in like a bear. A year of grief.
You may be wondering, dear reader where this blog is going, I just needed to share with you my Why.
The Dragonfly was chosen to represent the Accessible Garden Program because it was so fitting we would choose this symbolism to honor such strength, determination, and adaptability our community has. It was an emotional choice.
To choose the dragonfly to represent the Gift of Growing program was originally meant to represent the connection to the AccG program.
It means something so much deeper though. The dragonfly being placed on each box and pot represents hope, change, and love. This program was started with those three things in mind.
It was created to give the gift of hope to our community, we are not alone and we are not abandoned. There is still hope for the future, it is not lost.
It was created to give the gift of change. To change the way we live and view the world takes courage. There is strength to be found in change, even if that change comes in the form of one tomato plant.
It was created out of a deep well of love. Love for you. Love for one another. Love for the earth.
The Gift of Growing was created for all these reasons and more. Just like FIFABQ has sheltered me in some of my deepest moments of grief, this mission has given me each of those things and it has given me wings to take action.
My wish for each of you
That you may find peace, here in this place with us.
That you feel embraced and cared for, here in this place with us.
We aren’t on the other side of this grief yet, but together we can grief together. We can adapt together. We can grow together.
All my love and a little dragonfly too.