The flower fields at Fennville Cemetery in Michigan feature a beautiful sea of poppies. If you come across this place, you will think that it is an ordinary flower farm. However, there’s a heartwarming and interesting story behind this stunning poppy field.
Two years ago, couple Joan Donaldson and John Van Voorhees started planting the poppies in the four-acre field. This is to honor their son, Mateo Donaldson, who was previously deployed in Afghanistan. He was a beekeeper on this farm before he joined the military and went to Afghanistan.
“He came home with PTSD and took his own life,” Joan disclosed. Apparently, combat situations have negative effects on the soldiers’ minds and bodies. The families of soldiers who have PTSD are also greatly affected by their loved ones’ unfortunate situation.
“We decided to create the poppy field in memory of him, because all these flowers feed the bees and butterflies, which he loved caring for so much. He’s not buried very far from this field,” Joan added.
Just 200 feet away from the poppy field lies Mateo’s grave. The couple said that looking at the flower fields give them peace, knowing that their beloved son is watching over them. Though Mateo’s death was very sad and tragic, Joan and John still see their son as a hero who fought and died for their country.
The four-acre field of white, red and blue flowers is not just for the couple to enjoy. A lot of veterans also find solace in this breath-taking flower field when they visit the cemetery. The couple is glad when veterans who have PTSD talk to them and say how much peace they feel when they look at the colorful flowers.
They believe that Mateo is not only watching over them but also his fellow soldiers suffering from PTSD. Even people who are not veterans find interest in this beautiful farm. Whatever it is that they are struggling with in life, the amazing field of flowers seems to take all their worries away.
“I think, for the most part, we live in a world where people don’t provide enough beauty, or think about it, or how much it could mean to them. So, maybe when they encounter situations like this, they begin to realize how much they need it,” Joan said.
Seeing how the flower fields always become the “calm in the storm” for many visitors, the couple encourages more people to visit their field of poppies. They only have a few rules for visitors to follow: don’t walk in the fields and don’t pick flowers.
Of course, this field of flowers is very precious for the couple so they are only looking after it. If you would like to visit, simply follow their rules and find yourself in great solace, watching the spectacular view of beautiful and colourful flowers. You can find the farm at 5859 124th Avenue in Fennville, Michigan.
What a unique way to honor and remember a family member! Truly, losing a loved one is a hard battle but their memories and their love will stay in our hearts forever.
Watch this video and be amazed by this lovely field of poppies: