When I first lost my son Charles to suicide I would go downstairs and take my hand and run it over the rosemary from the herbal basket my friend Preston sent. I would bend over, breathe in the scent and slowly exhale.
They say lavender is the grief herb. But for me, it was rosemary. I can’t really explain what it did for me other than I experienced a moment that hit the pause button on my grief and offered me a rare moment of peace. and comfort.
I often walk in the morning with my friend Virginia. And we walk by a rosemary plant in our neighborhood that hangs over the sidewalk. I often snag one of the orphaned limbs, rub my hand over it and take in the scent.
Virginia used to flinch just a bit because, well, the plant is not mine. No one asked me to prune it. However, every time we walk by, you can’t tell where I got the last sprig. And I noticed today that there were spots on the plant that now had multiple sprigs instead of a single spire. No doubt my “pruning” had resulted in a fuller plant.
That’s how I justify it.
What would I say if they came outdoors and asked me why I was snapping off branches of their rosemary? I’d tell them the truth.