Digging in the Dirt: One Year In


The day after Mike died I mowed our lawn and yanked weeds.

It needed to be done. And I needed to do it.

Over the following few months, gardening became a salve for my grief.

A year later, I again found myself on hands and knees pulling weeds and trimming hedges.

This time the setting was Victoria; in the garden of Mike’s best friend Kim.

Will and I were back to see Mike’s hometown, visit his mother, and see the ocean again.

Over the past year I have tried not to pay much emotional notice to dates, anniversaries, birthdays and holidays.

Part of my casual blindness of these dates comes from the business of life. I work, I write, I raise my son.

Who has time to get jammed up about the next milestone when you’re just trying to make dinner and do the laundry?

But another part of me wonders if my ignorance is my heart’s coping mechanism.

Every day is a day without Mike. So what makes my birthday, his birthday, or name an occasion, any different?

There is longing. And there’s is always a sense that he’s missing out; we’re missing out. So what can a person do?

I get my hands dirty.

And so that’s where I found myself one year after his death.

We were in his beloved hometown Victoria, and I clawed the dirt with my mucky hands evicting weeds from a beautiful garden.

It felt good to direct my lingering grief even if — in the moment — I didn’t make that connection.

I spent hours digging, trimming and tugging overgrown greenery from the earth.

And instead of tears, drips of sweat rolled down my cheeks.


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