My mother-in-law is a widow and lives in an apartment within a retirement village. She has a cat, Jones, and Jones is her life. My mum-in-law is struggling at this time. She can’t see anyone, she can’t socialise and no one is able to visit her. She doesn’t really understand social distancing and for someone who is suffering with dementia, the world at this time is very confusing.
On Saturday I spoke to Margery and she was so sad. She doesn’t like where she’s living, she told me how unhappy she was and she was miserable. It played on my mind for a long time after I spoke to her and I thought about what would make her feel better.
On Sunday morning an idea came into my head. It feels as if this could be something, it’s a challenge and I don’t know quite how to begin this initiative. This week is what would have been Chelsea Flower Show and I thought about what is the easiest, the brightest and the most cheering thing to grow. A sunflower of course. I would like to do something to help people who are lonely, isolated and I would like them to have a project of their own. Children could be involved, care homes could do this without any enormous outlay or taking up too much of what is a valuable caring job.
I feel I could purchase one plastic flower pot, a small bag of compost and a packet of sunflower seeds. Plant just two of them in the pot and begin a chain of kindness, gifting this onwards with the remaining packet of seeds asking the recipient to do the same for someone else on their own. Just one flowerpot given to a lonely person could become a continuous act of thoughtfulness. A sunflower seed needs only light and water to thrive. It will grow on a windowsill or a window box. A balcony, or a stately home. A sunflower will grow without class barriers and doesn’t require green-fingers.
I envision sunflowers being grown in Swansea, or Stevenage, in Watford or Wigan. I have felt for a long time that lots of other wonderful people have been doing things and I have wanted to contribute, but I have struggled to find something that I feel would add to our current situation. Growing something from seed with the minimal input is rewarding. To see sunflowers flourishing would make people smile.