The Pointing family arrived in Uffculme in the summer of 2013 expecting to start a new chapter in our lives. A salesman specialising in technology for investment banking, and a GP specialising in drug and alcohol addiction, with plans for something different. In addition to a house in the village, we had bought 9 acres of farmland at the edge of the parish for growing food and living sustainably. We had decided to call it Mellow Grove, as it was a project for the later season of our lives and we wanted to create farmed spaces among trees. But we did not expect what happened next.
Our eldest daughter Hannah was alone in her home on 1st April 2015 when her heart stopped without warning. She was 23 years old, funny, loving, kind and beautiful; but we had to learn to live in a world where she was gone.
Since then we have learned a lot about grief, trauma, caring for ourselves and each other, the value of professional counselling, the value of friendship and how support does not always come from where you expect, and how our individual journeys through grief are all different but equally valid. We have got better at choosing work and activities that keep us well, and Mellow Grove has helped us to find some peace again.
Hannah is buried beneath a big oak close to where we work every day, surrounded by trees and the wildlife she loved. While we grieved and interfered very little, nature took its course and filled the fields of Mellow Grove with blooming, diversifying and multiplying life. Eventually we got around to ‘managing’ some of it again to harvest fruit, veg, compost, and hay.
We realised that our area lacked a natural burial ground where others could benefit from space, time and natural surroundings as we had. And that our communities have lost many of the traditions that used to help the bereaved feel less alone, and need to find new ways of supporting them. When a suitable site became available nearby, we started making plans again.
Our developing business at Mellow Grove is formed from all this, it is a work in progress, one that will keep Hannah at its heart.