The Garden is a Place of Healing
I have been a client of MOM for a little over a year and have benefited from it in multiple ways: food, clothing, friendship, and mentorship. This is the second summer I’ve had a plot in the Community Garden under the guidance of volunteers Dan and Eileen. During the gardening season of 2017 we met once a week planting, picking, and talking our way through the garden. With their help I marveled at what I could grow and ate more kale than I ever thought possible. October brought the end of our season together and I was sad to think I wouldn’t see them again until spring. Little did I know it wouldn’t be nearly that long of a wait.
That month, at the age of 41, I had my very first mammogram which led to further testing. Two days before Thanksgiving I was told that I had breast cancer. Upon telling Dan and Eileen my shocking news, they banded together to support me and helped me make necessary life adjustments in preparation for my January double mastectomy. They showed up much more than my family or friends did. They were my rock.
Now ten months later and after two surgeries, I am cancer-free and back in the garden with them. The garden is a place of healing and now the conversation has progressed to the next chapter in my life – new and better employment. Eileen mentored me while I was on medical leave this summer, preparing me for a job position dealing with cancer detection. Clenching the steering wheel after my in-person interview I had self-doubt. It turns out I did get the new job. I begin tomorrow.
What would I have done when that cancer call came in had it not been for MOM and the garden? Where would I be now had I not applied myself and made things happen? The MOM garden grows much more than food; it grows life, friendships, and the will to succeed and survive.
When MOM’s client, Lisa, shared her story with me, I was reminded that in life, there are both physical and intangible things that we need to survive and thrive. Healthy food, quality healthcare, secure employment and housing are our basic needs. But the less tangible, such as people who will stand by you and be your champion, are equally vital. A special thank you to MOM volunteers Dan and Eileen for their compassion and generosity of spirit.
As the holidays approach, all of us begin to think about how grateful we are for the things in life that grant us the stability we need to live life to its fullest. At MOM, we are thankful for the people who join us in our mission. We are thankful for the opportunity to work side by side with people in our community who fight every day and share with us their courage. We feel the warmth of our community and invite you to join us in the work we all do together.
-Ellen Carlson, Executive Director
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