Growing through grief, blooming in joy

Growing through grief, blooming in joy

In fall 2020, the precarity of living through a pandemic became all the more uncertain when my dad passed away. 

If there was one constant during that period of grief for me, it was Monty Don, the calm and charismatic host of the British television series, Gardeners' World. I sat in my apartment, cuddled up with my cat, Frankie, and let Monty’s relaxed and careful cadence reassure me that not all was lost with the world. 

During that period of grief, I found myself wondering what I could do to help both myself and artists with intellectual disabilities at Creative Connections navigate such uncertain times with grace.

As winter melted into spring, I did what Monty Don told me to do: I put my hands in the dirt with hope in my mind and faith in my heart. Instantly, I felt like I had unlocked a secret, and I really wanted to share that feeling with my friends at Creative Connections.

It wasn’t immediately clear what potential the lumpy yard beside L’Arche Saint John’s McKim House held. Yet, through 2021, the garden grew in size thanks to hard work and the generosity of our community. 

The Creative Connections garden has helped L’Arche members stay active, look forward to change, and gain confidence. You should see the smile on Stephane’s face when he waters the garden on warm summer evenings! Meanwhile others, like Pat and Krista, feel confidence and pride from learning new skills like growing plants from seed, or using new tools.

This year, our big project is to install stable, level, and safe walkways throughout to make it more accessible for folks who use mobility aids. This will expand access to nature to adults with and without intellectual disabilities in our community, thereby reducing social isolation and improving mental health.

With your support, the garden will grow as an accessible and communal healing space. After the past two years, I can’t think of anything we need more in our community and world than the restoration and transformation that take place when we put our hands in the dirt.

Katie McTiernan
Program Assistant at Creative Connections


Will you help our garden bloom? Your donation to our Support Our Artists campaign will help our artists thrive, grow our accessible garden project, and support L'Arche Ukraine.

Learn more and donate by clicking here

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