Sexual fantasies about gardeners abound in women’s erotic literature, but even though Alex was an attractive 28 year old man with a fabulous smile, the reason I love him has nothing to do with sexual fantasy or anything else you’d find in a Cosmopolitan magazine.
I love Alex because of the way he showed up for me as a human being. I love the way he showed me that he loved me even though he never said so.
I love him for every conversation we had - mostly while he was pruning or raking. I love him because of how much enthusiasm and passion he had for everything he did - whether he was chatting with me as he hauled dead branches out to his trailer, or texting me about the problem with mold growing on the honeysuckle vine out by the alley, or talking on the phone with a friend about an upcoming adventure at the side of the house.
I love him for all the times he encouraged me about my work.
“What you do is so cool!”
“I love your book!”
“You should totally start a podcast!”
He supported me in my work. He was one of my greatest fans. And I felt it.
Alex made me feel seen as a person - not just that lady in the funny little house. I always felt more grounded and loved when I finished a conversation with him because of the way he looked at me and because of the personal stories he shared. He told me about when he injured his kidney snowboarding on Mt Hood and when his little brother tragically died in an auto accident years ago. When he shared his personal stories and talked with me about all the things, he made me feel special, softer and more at peace. All because of him - my gardener.
I wasn't alone in my love for Alex. He loved people and they loved him right back because he connected with others so easily. He became fast friends with his “grocery store clerk” (now his wonderful friend Lauren who came all the way from Vermont for his memorial) or Leo, the guy who publishes Outdoor World magazine who was sitting alone at a table after the memorial. Over 300 people came to celebrate a life so well lived and to express gratitude for having been seen and loved by Alex.
Alex made us all feel special because he was totally present in every moment - never distracted, always all in.
Alex’s legacy is love. Show up filled with love for everyone you meet. Live without shame. Don’t worry about what others think of you. Love them. Love yourself.
I love Alex. He’s my gardener. And I’m heartbroken that he’s gone.