US: local flower grower shares national healing

The United States has surpassed 500,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19. Though the statistics reflect national numbers, the reality of a lost loved one hits close to home. To honor those who have died, a local flower grower has partnered with a national organization to bring comfort and healing to those grieving loved ones lost to the coronavirus.

National organizations Floral Heart Project and Marked by COVID have designated March 1 as a national day of mourning for victims of COVID-19. In collaboration with the organizations, Laura Skidmore, owner and operator of the Village Flower Farm in Yellow Springs, will lay a six-foot long, heart-shaped garland of fresh flowers in front of the Yellow Springs train station at on Sunday, Feb. 28 to honor those who have died.

Though dozens of memorial events are happening all over the country, Skidmore’s event is one of only two happening in Ohio. The other is near Toledo.

“I have seen friends around me lose people they love, and I’ve seen friends have family members in intensive care on ventilators,” Skidmore said. “Their worry and their grief has really hit me. There are so many people out there I don’t know who have been affected by this. I want to give people a way to acknowledge their loss, to share their grief, and comfort each other, even though most of our usual experiences aren’t possible right now.”

Despite the virus hitting less close to home, Skidmore has bore witness to her neighbors and customers who have suffered immense loss because of the pandemic. Often, her flowers and her gardens are a meaningful source of comfort for them.

Last fall, Skidmore held an event wherein people could come and plant their own daffodil bulbs. The bulbs were buried, accompanied by written messages about 2020’s struggles, as a symbolic gesture of growth and healing.

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