Ellie holding a photo of her and her motherWhen my Mom passed away in the fall of 2011, I decided to find a way to keep her nearby. Some people put a photo in their wallet or on the dresser. Some donate money in tribute to a memory. I wanted to keep her by my side. She was a wonderful gardener, and through her, I learned my love of nature and its ability to heal us—both physically and spiritually.

My mother’s maiden name was Sarah Ferguson. The Ferguson clan motto is “Sweeter after Difficulties.” The family crest features a honeybee on a thistle flower.

I decided to become a Beekeeper. Beekeeping seemed the perfect way to honor my mother’s memory. It just seemed right to turn to the natural world to help me weather the loss and heal my heart.

After months of reading and classes, I started two beehives in my backyard. The first day was a celebration of innocence and answered prayers. My Friends helped me carry my hives and take pictures. I looked like a whipped cream parfait in a beekeepers hat.

I wore a dazzling white jumpsuit with boots and in the fall of 2012, I decided to expand my beekeeping project into a business, and thus, Urban Nectar, L.L.C. was born.

So how did Urban Nectar expand from honey to nail polish?

That, too, is part of my Mom’s story.

While she was undergoing treatment for brain cancer, she and I shared an indulgence for manicures and pedicures at a local nail salon. Often, when women undergo surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and the other treatments to fight cancer, their body image suffers. Even though my mom had lost her hair, her femininity still mattered. Our trips to the nail salon were a quick and easy way to relax, to put aside worry for a little while, and to celebrate beauty.

To honor those memories and my Mom’s courage during her fight, I’m donating twenty five cents from both honey and nail nectar bottles to the Cancer Support Community Center of Greater St. Louis. The Center offers programs that support the quality of life for cancer patients and their families. This is the organization that supported my mom during her treatment.