… it’s bigger than my salads, radishes, sunflowers, and greens….

Trigger Warning: Talks of miscarriage/child loss.

Last week, November 2nd, was my birthday.

That day I harvested my first salad from my garden

I noticed the sunflowers I planted for my grandmothers started thriving.

Seeing the sunflowers thrive inspired me to plant some new flowers today. 

My birthday, November 2, is also 

1) Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) 

2) The Haitian celebration of Fèt Gede (“Festival of the Dead”)

3) And so many other celebrations around the world that help us remember those loved ones who are no longer living.

November is also the month my husband and I choose to celebrate Omo.

Omo is the nickname we gave the baby I miscarried around this time in 2020. 

While I am now a proud member of the child-free by choice crew…

We celebrate our first time trying, conceiving, and the complex experience of child loss/miscarriage every year in October/November with other families around the world.

My reason for starting my garden came from a deepened love for house plants since my miscarriage. 

On the day of my miscarriage, I took herbs from my botanica and spread them into a bath. I took the last of the herbs and also added them to the only house plant I had at home at the time. 

That plant was neglected for over a year until I defended my dissertation in 2021. Somehow the plant was still thriving when I finally realized it was still in our home. 

 I took that one house plant and somehow turned it and others I bought or propagated into about 100 houseplants.

My plants became a portal for me to process grief and be creative. 

I saw how much I was working with and enjoying my plants and decided to use all I knew to begin growing my own food again…

As my sunflowers bloom in celebration of my grandmother’s this ancestral season…Im excited to plant some flowers in my indoor garden in celebration of my Omo.

The number of lessons and connections that season of grief brought me, my family, my work and my research can not be counted. 

I hope to harvest those flowers dedicated to omo, dry them and create something in my botanical for women in need. 

I remember telling many of you about my journey to become a bereavement doula. My plants and garden have helped to lead me into creative ways to show up as a doula for women giving birth and those grieving a loss.

My plants and my garden have been my greatest tools of healing the last few years.

It kept parts of me alive through plants when I didn’t see life outside of my grief…

Now I know that grief can be the sweetest sign of deep love….

My garden is bigger than my salads, radishes, sunflowers and greens….

My garden is the memory of my grandmothers…the og Gardners of Mississippi and Louisiana 

My garden is the honoring of my womb and my decision to no longer have children 

My garden is me mindfully using my feminine energy to love and care for my family and community with tangible fruits and offerings

My garden is my love for my husband reflected through food and herbs

My garden is memories of and prayers for omo 

Alexa play PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA by Beyoncé lol

Thank you for everyone who wished me happy birthday As the year ends….

May you remember those you have lost, big and small. 

May your grief turn into memories of love and hope.

Dr. Kennedy-Epstein

———————————————

OMO

Came and went and took my peace

but came to me with glory and things. 

I birthed myself again out in my grief…

it worked for my good. 

I alchemized that into glory. 

We turned it into glory.

My egun all around me. 

You betta ask about me.

My angels surround me. Egun. 

My grandmas prayers always come through

This ones for you

On the dark days when you feel down

On the dark days when you can’t smile 

I say

Keep your head up to the sky when you feeling down

Keep your head up to the sky when you feeling down

(poem/freestyle 2020)

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