I brought a plant.  Well, I actually brought a hanging outdoor plant. While this act may not be worth celebrating to you, it was a big deal to me.  You see, for the past 6 years I have not purchased a plant or flowers.  Ever since my beloved John died on May 1, 2015, I have not had the inclination or desire to purchase a living thing.

This revelation came to me last year when I realized I had not even visited a local plant shop or nursery.  For years, I used to scour plant sales, looking for trays of annuals or pots of perennials to determine what best suited my garden.  I found so much joy in purchasing and then labored during early mornings weeding and planting those delicate flowers, only to watch them grow and fill my heart with the colors of life.

I inherited a “green thumb” honestly from my Jamaican father.  My family owned five acres of land in Ohio where he cultivated the earth and grew trees, shrubbery, and a multitude of flowers and  every garden vegetable you can imagine.  While I did not appreciate what the significance of owning land in the 1950’s meant, I did realize that as a family we were unique.  Not many people that lived in the city, had additional property in another part of town.  I would help my daddy during the summer, often waking up before the bright sun rose, to ride with him to the “farm” where I faithfully weeded until my hands grew weak and tired.  I got my little allowance for helping, happy to have spending change at 11 years old.  Tending the soil is a natural habit of mine and I grew up with a deep appreciate of Mother Earth’s ability to grow and sustain life.

When my world stopped after my husband died, I decided to move into a smaller dwelling and therefore sold or donated most of my house plants and all the related garden equipment.  I did keep a rake, shovel, some gloves and a few smaller house plants.  Maybe unconsciously planning for the future garden?

For the past five years, I have had no interest in buying a plant to welcome in spring.  While I understand the reported values in gardening (lowers stress, eases depression and improves the quality of life), until last week I had no interest.  I would glance at flowers and let out a small sigh.  Like my heart was not ready to hold anything again.  Was not ready to embrace the joy of colors and life again, evident in purchasing flowers to grace a table or enjoying the fragrant smell of roses.  For 5 long years, I reaped no benefits from the joys of gardening.

Then magically, I stopped to look at the flowers and plants at a local garden shop while stopping for an appliance.  I cannot even tell you what drew me to stop and savor the wonderful sights and colors of spring herbs, flowers and plants.  But I did stop and days later I purchased a beautiful hanging plant to grace my front yard.   In the days since, I have watered and pruned the flowering leaves to enable it to continue to grow and prosper with buds bursting with colors.

It is true; nature has a way to bring out the best in us.  A walk outdoors admiring the neighbor’s yards and plants or better yet, a visit to an arboretum to feast on acres and acres of blooms can help lighten daily loads.   I know there are others reading this who have witnessed the rejuvenating experiences of flowers, gardening or both.

I am enjoying my new little plant and pray it is a sign my heart is being restored.  Restored and moving me to heal, to relinquish some of the widow’s pain and sorrow I have experienced since 2015.  I believe I am ready to allow myself time to experience optimism, energy, better health and greater life satisfaction.

The simple things in life now seem to be life-affirming.  All because I brought a plant.

Have you heard about Hope for Widows Foundation’s annual virtual Widows of Hope 5K on May 15 and 16? Registration is now open! For details, FAQ’s and to register/support go to: https://racewire.com/register.php?id=12122 Anyone can join! Whether you are a widow, widower, or a friend/family member showing support, or walking in the loss of another family member, everyone is welcomed to participate. The deadline to register is May 15, 2021. The proceeds will directly support widows directly through their annual financial Restoring Hope and Peace Grants, Sunshine Boxes program, and our Bring Hope Holiday Assistance Program.


Ajai Blue-Saunders is a servant leader and works for a nonprofit in the Richmond VA area. She is always seeking ways to encourage and serve others, even while experiencing the sudden death of her husband in 2015. Her work experience includes project development, herbalist, management, supervision and overseeing several companies and nonprofits.

Ajai has a heart for the disability community and serves on many local and national boards. She currently is solo parenting an artistic adult daughter with disabilitiies and together they are navigating this life with faith and love. She currently runs a widow's support group that meets monthly sponsored by a local funeral home which provides a safe place for widows to experience their grief journey with love and compassion.