Heath lost her son Rodney 13 years ago. He took his own life.
All these years later, it is still emotional for Heath to talk about. When her reflection on what the Memorial Garden means to her turned to her son, her voiced cracked and she gathered her strength to continue.
“To me, it is a really special place,” Heath said. “I often go sit there and remember him.
“It’s not only him. I like to read the names, and it brings back memories of this one and that one who have been here and touched the lives of many people.”
The South Brook woman is one of several in the community who took on the challenge of building the Memorial Garden. Found on the corner of Spring Cove Road and Robert’s Arm Road, the message “Forever in our hearts” greets visitors on the entrance sign. Inside, there are benches around the open area and a Wall of Memories erected in the background. On these structures can be found the names of loved ones who have died.
Rodney Heath is a name that has shared one of those benches for the two years the garden has been in place.
Led by South Brook resident Olive Mills, the group of volunteers turned an idea into a reality, according to Heath. And the townspeople cherish it.
“It is very sacred,” she said. “It is very looked after.”
Sometimes vandalism can plague community infrastructure, but not here, said Heath. Visitors often pluck weeds or water the garden, and clean up any litter in the area.
“It is a special place to our people,” she said. “They have the names of their loved ones on the wall. They go there and it is very sentimental.”
Residents recently held their second annual memorial service at the garden.
Just as it took fundraising to build the garden, fundraising continues to expand or maintain it. They also hold a memorial walk every August.