This morning while the kids were all at school, I took the dog for a walk. It’s warm and mild, and trees are bursting with leaves and blooms. Suddenly at a familiar corner I was jolted by this discovery.
This was my daughter’s “favorite tree,” and appeared in my opening blog post just over a year ago. Part of me wants to avoid showing her this scene to protect her from the loss. However it’s inevitable she’ll notice it some day, so it’s best to think about supporting her through this.
When I came upon this scene a neighbor was walking by and I pointed it out to her, explaining my daughter’s feelings for this tree. She responded with her own story of making a visit to her elderly father back east and noticing the cutting and removal of a landmark tree, well-remembered from childhood visits, planted on a corner that to her signified home. This happened on the day her father was transferred out from his home due to declining health at the very end of his life. I asked her how it felt to see the tree being cut. She replied, “It felt like part of me had died.”
Life is full of change, unexpected losses and new gifts. Fortunately for me and for my daughter, we share a passion for planting trees and have enjoyed volunteering with Friends of Trees in that effort. And of course we’ll continue to do so.
Combined with her natural desire to find a positive outcome, I think these experiences have already built a schema for her which give perspective. Seeing these three paint marks on the curb next to the tree’s remaining stump gives me a sense of hope.
My wish is for Naomi to find comfort in these little white paint marks too as she says good-bye to her friend.