Something Beautiful Remains

In the year 2007, Mother’s Day also fell on the thirteenth day of May. It was on this day I held a ceremony in my front yard. My brother, husband, children and I planted a tree in memory of our mother and father to honor them both on Mother’s Day, also the anniversary of the day my father passed away. We buried a few mementos in the ground around the tree for each of them, sprinkled some of Dad’s ashes on the earth, said a few words and released balloons with messages attached. Each day I would look out my window, with fond memories of my parents, as I watched the tree flourish and grow a little taller and stronger that first year.

The tide recedes but leaves behind
bright seashells on the sand.
The sun goes down, but gentle
warmth still lingers on the land.
The music stops, and yet it echoes
on in sweet refrains…..
For every joy that passes,
something beautiful remains


On the morning of May 13, 2008, exactly one year later, at the same time of day we had planted that tree, a freak, very brief, but violent storm, ripped through our neighborhood. It split the young tree right down the center, sending both halves crashing to the ground. Nothing remained of the tree. I glanced down the block, in all directions, but other than a few scattered roof shingles, nothing else appeared to be damaged. We filled in the empty hole with dirt and the landscape rock that covered the rest of the yard, and I spent many days after, gazing out my window, wondering why. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was a sign of some sort. Friends had theories, some I wanted to believe, others I dismissed.

We moved from that home a few months later, but remained in the area. One day I decided to drive by the house to see how the landscape was looking, if the new residents were using the feeders I had left behind for the hummingbirds, and just to get a glimpse of the place where my parents memories were buried in that location where a tree once stood. Much to my surprise the tree had started to grow again. It was messy and unkempt, growing odd and misshapen, desperately needing to be trimmed or cut back for a stronger foundation. I had to let it go, release my attachment to it, and know in my heart that however it grew, or did not grow, was out of my control. I did not pass by the house again for the next year or so.

Knowing this Mother’s Day, once again, fell on May thirteenth, I felt the need to go back by that house to pause, sit for awhile, and maybe get brave enough to knock on the door and tell the new residents the story of the tree. As I approached the home, I was delighted to see the yard was being kept up, had been trimmed and cared for, and was looking lush and beautiful as it matured. I watched the occupants of the home leave. Avoiding approaching them, I was able to sit across the street and get a good look at the “old” tree. It was strong and beautiful. What I noticed next left me smiling, and confirmed the strength, bond, connection, and love of family; and that all is, as it should be.

The tree no longer has one trunk, but rather five. Five strong and healthy trunks, all growing in a different direction. I know now it was–it is–a sign. I believe that if we pay attention there is confirmation one way or the other for all our thoughts and actions. I call these little confirmations “signs”.  That tree I planted with just one trunk, split into two. With time it started to grow back, not quite neat and orderly, but growing nonetheless. With time, care and nurturing it birthed five new independent trunks. This is now my family tree. One trunk for each of my parents’ children. There are five of us; all connected by our roots, yet each strong and independent. It’s the most beautiful sign I’ve ever received. It confirms to me that my parents are angels watching over us, reminding us we share common roots, but we can branch out in our own direction, follow our own path, grow at our own rate, yet stay connected on a deep level. And so it is.

“And the tree was happy” ~ Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree

“Signs, signs, everywhere are signs!’

Blessings always,