Chi-Lin Yen Garden | Mountain View
Paying It Forward: The Gift of a Healing GardenWhen Chi-Lin Yen passed away in November 2003 – only a year after being diagnosed with gastric carcinoid cancer, a rare form of stomach cancer – he left behind his wife of more than 40 years, Elaine, and their three sons.
Over time, Elaine felt a growing sense that she wanted to do something to honor the memory of her late husband. "My mom had the idea to create a peaceful place where people could sit and rest," said Scott, the Yens' eldest son. "My father always loved his garden at our home in Los Altos Hills, and my mother wanted to design a garden he would have liked to tend himself."
Elaine made a gift that would have a lasting impact. She worked closely with PAMF's landscape architect John Wong, who presented her with some initial sketches. "I told him what my husband liked best and what was in our own garden at home," she said. "We wanted a garden that would be there forever, with a pagoda, boulders and a waterfall, and with flowering azaleas, maple and black pine trees."
The result: Chi-Lin Yen Garden in front of the infusion therapy center at the lower level of the Mountain View Center.
Allegra Lewis, an oncology nurse who works in the infusion center, has witnessed the garden's soothing effect on her patients. "It is so therapeutic to be able to look out on trees and flowers. People almost forget for a moment that they are in treatment," she said. "So many peoples' lives are touched by chronic illness," she continued. "The environment we create here honors the uniqueness of each person, and encourages healing, optimism and a sense of connection."
The dedication ceremony for the Chi-Lin Yen Garden was held on April 14, 2007, and attended by family members and friends, as well as by many physicians and staff members. "The ceremony was a celebration of my dad's life," said Scott. "When I visit the garden, I feel peaceful and a little closer to my dad."
At the dedication, all three of Elaine Yen's sons spoke about their memories of their father. "We do not want him to be forgotten," said Elaine. "My husband was taken too soon, but this garden will leave a footprint in this world of who he was and what he loved."
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- Elaine Yen
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