Evening Telegraph (First Edition)

Garden a tribute to

Quiet space for anyone to reflect on loved one


A moment of contemplat­ion.

A BEREAVEMEN­T garden believed to be the first in the world to honour victims of the pandemic has opened in Dundee.

The Good Grief Memorial Garden was opened at Dundee Botanic Garden yesterday – the third anniversar­y of the announceme­nt of the first UK national lockdown on March 23 2020.

To date there have been 220,437 deaths in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificat­e.

Dundee University, which owns the gardens, organised the opening to coincide with what was the third National Day of Reflection since the pandemic took hold.

It will also provide a quiet space for anyone wishing to reflect on the life of a loved one lost at any time.

Mayra Crowe’s son, Andrew, died due to a brain aneurysm in 2010 aged only 15.

He ultimately saved nine lives by donating his organs.

The Dundee University lecturer has subsequent­ly campaigned to change perception­s of the grieving process and how people respond to the death of a loved one.

“I come from Mexico, where events like Day of the Dead are celebrated and our relationsh­ip with grief is perhaps different,” the Angus resident said.

“However, spaces like this can help promote discussion about death and remembranc­e, allowing more people to feel comfortabl­e in sharing their feelings.

“The pandemic highlighte­d just how important our relationsh­ips with our loved ones are.

“I had to attend the funeral of a friend online, but that did not offer any comfort to that person’s family.

“Sharing the feeling of loss, knowing that you’re all experienci­ng loss, is a very important part of the grieving process, and we lost some of that during the pandemic.”

At the heart of the garden are four specially commission­ed obelisks, representi­ng the seasons of the year, while the space is surrounded by trees, ensuring privacy for those seeking it.

Nooks have also been establishe­d, allowing visitors to find a quiet space to write notes of remembranc­e.

Kevin Frediani, curator of the Botanic Garden, said: “Grief will affect us all at some point and does so in different ways, but the pandemic certainly helped bring this realisatio­n to the forefront of a lot of people’s minds.”

The new garden is of particular significan­ce to Amy Paterson, whose father, Dr Neil Paterson, was the Botanic Garden’s education officer.

He passed away from cancer during the pandemic having helped to develop the Good Grief Memorial Garden in its early stages.

“Dad worked at the Botanic Garden for almost 20 years – it was a very special place for him,” said Amy.

“Even after his diagnosis he chose to continue to work there and over the years he made connection­s with thousands of people.

“He helped Kevin during the initial stages of developing this part of the garden and would be very pleased that it has become a beautiful and peaceful space to reflect.

“After he passed away, the Botanic Garden has become a place where his family and friends can come to remember him and celebrate his life and work. “It is a sincere tribute that Kevin has dedicated one of the four obelisks to my father, which has been a great honour.

“I sincerely hope that others find

the same solace in this space that we do.”

Organised by charity Marie Curie, the remembranc­e event encourages people to come together to remember loved ones who have died and support others through the grieving process.

The establishm­ent of the new garden has also been influenced by the Say Something Dundee project, a partnershi­p project that aims to make conversati­ons about death, dying, loss and care easier to initiate.

Bringing together the university, Marie Curie, Funeral Link, The Truacanta Project and Dundee Volunteer & Voluntary Action, members of the collective attended the launch to lend a listening ear to those wishing to learn more about grieving process.

 ?? ?? SERENE: Visitors look round the garden. Pictures by Steve Brown.
SERENE: Visitors look round the garden. Pictures by Steve Brown.
 ?? ?? Mayra Crowe.
Mayra Crowe.
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 ?? ?? Dr Neil Paterson.
Dr Neil Paterson.

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