This last week here in Oregon has been strangely hot, and the wildfires burning in Canada have made the air here thick with smoke. The heat, coupled with a weird summer stomach bug, have kept me from harvesting the staggering amount of produce my garden is churning out.
Actually, I could blame it on the heat, but the difference between what I can eat and what I plant is nothing new.
As always, I’ve planted far too much.
But before Matt died, I could use at least some of the season’s overly bountiful harvest to feed my family. Back then, I also had an office job, so any surplus produce could always be passed on to co-workers.
Matt drowned in the middle of July. Even in much cooler Maine, mid-July was big harvest season. There were lettuces and peas, chard and brassicas. There were flowers and the very beginnings of beans. I couldn’t bear the sight of it. I couldn’t eat it. I couldn’t pull out all the plants.
I had the same feeling in the garden as I did in the grocery store, absentmindedly filling my cart – who’s going to eat this stuff? There is no one left to feed. There is no one left.
My need to grow things and to feed people suddenly had nowhere to go. I stood in the garden seeing meals we would not make. I stood in the garden touching plants that sprouted in a life were things made sense. That life was gone. Greens went to seed. Tomato plants fell over and did not get picked back up. Every garden task, every garden chore – why bother. Why bother. There is no one left to feed.
I’ve always loved my people through food. It’s what I do. When Matt died, I lost my family. I lost the people who received that expression of my love. My garden fell to waste because there was no longer anyone to receive it. There was no longer any reason to grow anything.If food is love, how has the act of feeding others been impacted by your loss? Click To Tweet
Though my interest in growing food has returned, I still catch myself. Looking out over the garden before the heat wave hit, I flashed on those early days when I could not stand the sight of all this food. I flashed, at the same time, on Matt kneeling down in our first garden together, planting his own patch of black beans.
It was nice to see him there.
While so much has changed since my early days of grief, a lot has stayed the same. There is still way too much food in my garden. There’s still a hole at the table. I can blame it on the weather, but the odd disconnect between what I plant and where all that food can go is still ever-present.
How about you? Is your loss reflected in your garden plan? How has food – the act of feeding others – been impacted by your loss? Let us know in the comments.