When it comes to marriage, everyone hopes to have the strong marriage that lasts. The one that “makes it” to 50, 60 and 70 years together. Waking up every morning to the love of your life, and falling more in love today than you were the day before.
That’s the kind of marriage Winston and Janet Howes had.
For 33 years, Winston did life with the only woman he’d ever loved. She had his heart, and he had hers.
But in 1995, Janet passed away from heart failure. She was only 50 years old, and had now became the missing piece of Winston’s heart.
As a way to honor his late wife, Winston came up with a plan. In the 112 acre field behind his farm, he enlisted the help of professionals to plant several thousand oak trees on six acres.
But it wasn’t at random. In the middle of the trees was an acre-long heart-shaped clearing.
“Once it was completed we put [a] seat in the field, overlooking the hill near where she used to live. I sometimes go down there, just to sit and think about things. It is a lovely and lasting tribute to her which will be here for years.”
Now, more than 20 years later, the oak trees have grown and matured into Winston’s own personal “forest” on the farm.
But right in the center of it lies a peaceful heart-shaped meadow, where Winston continues to go and sit “with his wife.”
“The heart points towards Wotton Hill, where Janet is from,” he says. “We plant daffodils in the middle that come up in the spring.”
Winston’s meadow had been a family secret up until 2012. You can’t see it through the woods from the road, and virtually no one would know it exists. But a hot air balloonist came across the spectacular aerial view while traveling the skies above Winston’s farm one morning.
“I have my own balloon and am quite a regular flyer—but this was the most amazing sight I have ever seen from the sky,” he explained. ”It was a perfect heart hidden away from view—you would not know it was there. You can just imagine the love story.”
What an incredible testament to the life and love that Winston and Janet shared. Their marriage lasted 33 years, but his memorial is a reminder that their love will persevere forever.