Memorial Tree

It would be the closest thing to a formal ceremony my family would ever have for dad. The funeral home that handled dad’s affairs held an interfaith service and candlelit walk the other night in memory of those who’d died this past year. Time feels very different these days, and truly, it is hard to comprehend that it’s been almost a year since my father’s been gone. Christmastime will forever carry with it a different sort of mood. But it’s ok; his life ended in as near perfect a way as we could have hoped. For the most part, dad was dad up until the end. In spite of that, I do know that the last year or two wasn’t necessarily enjoyable for him. The last month was the worst of it, really. So it was a good thing that he finally left.

Time has taken some of the edge off; the hurt isn’t so acute as it once was, but instead, now I find that his death has become a regular part of my life. I must think of dad several times each day, missing those little, familiar details I can never again hear or see… Daily my sorrow is refreshed in little ways. It’s a selfish thing though; I personally believe he’s enjoying a much more harmonious, peaceful and loving existence wherever it is that he lives now. It’s just this damned one-way mirror makes it impossible to confirm my hunch. Man, sometimes this life thing really pisses me off. And sometimes I think it’s all a very clever way in which to stoke our sense of hope, and strengthen our ability to have faith. And then again sometimes I feel like it’s all a stupid, hurtful game, and I’m done with it – I’m out of patience with the whole ridiculous, painful joke.

Death wouldn’t be so bad if we could just get a little note from our departed loved ones, just to let us know that they got there ok, that maybe they miss us, and that they want us to know that it’s not so bad. Not bad at all, in fact. Oh, and if they could just assure us that we’ll be fine too, and before we know it, somehow, we’ll be together again.


 Elihu put his dove on the tree in memory of his grandfather. He started to sing Kum Ba Yah on the walk back to the church. I sang harmony with him, and our song ended just as the candlelit walk was over. Kinda perfect. And Elihu was the first to remember some funny anecdotes about dad at the end of the evening, bringing a bit of spirited joy back to the night. Thankfully, he’s kept his outlook positive and hopeful around this sad change of life, even down to the parting words he last spoke to his grandpa: See you shortly…

One thought on “Memorial Tree

  1. The idea of a memorial tree is nice, and it’s good to involve everyone in such a walk. It sounds like a nice, positive thing to do to commemorate those who aren’t with us anymore. Also, some people transplant baby tree seedlings to commemorate loved ones who have passed away. Trees are a nice living part of the landscape, usually living on much longer than we do. They keep on producing air to breathe and they filter out CO2 for decades or even centuries, for future generations to benefit from, and that’s a good thing. Long after trees need people to care for them, they help take care of us all.

    Have a merry, peaceful Christmas season. In spite of everything, you can still find goodness and sweetness in times following a loss. Enjoy what’s good, and be glad for it, etc. Unfortunately, when special times like holidays and birthdays coincide with sad losses, there can be a lingering mood afterward, which can suddenly jolt you all over again. It’s sort of like an LP record with a particularly pronounced scratch that pops out in the middle of everthing. As the record progresses along, you can still hear something of that pop as the groove passes by that same spot, but it gets softer with each revolution of the turntable. Each year as you pass through certain dates and weeks, you can feel a lot of the same things that we did the first time, but it will get better. May you have better times really soon.

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