Mary Lou’s Story

Mary Lou wrote the following for her final newsletter in 2002.

“It seems like just yesterday. It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 20 years. I remember thinking that I would be happy if I can have even one year to garden.I don’t know if I ever had a newsletter that was harder to write, even though I’ve always wanted to tell you how much I’ve felt blessed being allowed to do what I love and share it with others. This newsletter is still difficult, so bear with me please…”

“It was in the late 70’s and I had been through a divorce that literally pushed me over the edge. My world came to an abrupt halt, and no matter how hard I tried to regain my footing, I just slipped further and further away. When it became clear that I could not even handle any of the simple tasks of caring for my 10 year old daughter, I was hospitalized. I’m certain there was no other choice, but it also meant that it would be like building a life all over again, one painful step at a time.

I discovered gardening when I was in the hospital. It was just the smallest patch of earth, but there was such peace there. It was in great disrepair, and sometimes I would just stand there and survey all that needed to be done. It wasn’t too long before I was on my hands and knees pulling weeds and lost in chores. Time passed so quickly when I was in the garden, and for the first time in many weeks, there were no tears. It became my special place. I would throw on my clothes at the first light of morning and stay there all day. My heart was at peace, and though I didn’t know it at the time, the long road to healing had begun.”

“Sometimes I would stand alone in the gardens after everyone had gone home and in the quiet — survey all that I saw, and remember the broken, wounded woman…”

Editor’s Note: This is why The Sheepfold held a special place in her heart, and why it’s our mission to continue this support in her memory.

Heard’s Country Gardens nursery officially closed in the summer of 2002. After spending the summer with her family, Mary Lou Heard left us on September 18, 2002. She was 57 years young, but the tour she started continues.