Myrtice Dixon, 88, of The Watmermark at Trinity, finds new purpose in gardening after the loss of her husband Arnie
TAMPA, Fla. (April 11, 2022) — Myrtice Dickson, 88, lost her husband Arnie earlier this year. The two were married for more than 62 years and lived together at The Watermark at Trinity in Pasco County. Following Arnie’s passing, Myrtice began looking for ways to cope with her grief. That’s when Caitlin Kuck
– an associate of the assisted living community where she lives – suggested gardening.
“People often don’t know how to offer condolences,” said Dickson. “But Caitlin recognized something in me and said, ‘you like to plant things, here are some seeds.’ So, I started helping her plant succulents in The Gardens [the community’s memory care community] and that blossomed into putting together a raised bed for The Inn [the assisted living community].”
Myrtice’s love of gardening goes back to her childhood. She recalls visiting her grandfather’s farm as a child and enjoying all the plants that her mother and aunts had planted around the property. From there, her love of gardening grew.
“Gardening is a process, and I love all parts of it,” said Dickson. “From preparing the soil, to taking care of the plants. It doesn’t just happen. You’ve got to give it something. Arnie always loved for me to do things that made me thoroughly happy, and I am genuinely happy working on the plants.”
Tending to a garden has been found to be particularly beneficial for people dealing with loss. It immerses you in the present moment, helping to reduce shock, anger or sadness and connects you with nature. Studies have also found that gardening can lower cortisol levels, improve concentration, manage symptoms of anxiety and depression, interrupt harmful ruminations, and increase quality of life.
“Instead of becoming introverted, Myrtice turned to something that she loves,” said Linda Wiley, Executive Director of The Watermark at Trinity. “It’s been inspiring to watch her navigate her grief and find joy in her pain. Our residents and associates are also enjoying the fruits of her labor in our beautiful outdoor space.”
A year after beginning work on her garden, the flowers in the raised bed have started outgrowing their home. The community surprised Myrtice with a second raised bed on April 14 to celebrate National Gardening Day. The community, which offers independent, assisted living and memory care, hosted a thank you party and served Myrtice’s favorite dessert before presenting her with the garden box.
“Finding ways to help our residents thrive is at the core of all that we do,” said Wiley. “Myrtice is a shining example of a resident who has taken advantage of all the opportunities at our community. She’s finding new ways to care for herself, making new friends, and celebrating the current phase of her life.”
About The Watermark at Trinity
Located in Trinity, Fla., The Watermark at Trinity is a 218-residence retirement community offering independent living, assisted living and memory care in the Pasco County suburb of Trinity. Differentiators of the community include certified associates, continuous care and an extraordinary lifestyle built on an abundance of choices. Owned and managed by Watermark Retirement Communities, The Watermark at Trinity is committed to creating an extraordinary community where people thrive. To learn more visit https://trinity.watermarkcommunities.com.