Each time I visit the city in Massachusetts where I was born and raised, it is my custom to take the mile or so walk from grandmotherís house to visit the grave of my mother. This time was so much more dismal than the norm, afflicted as I was with the hollow pain of being orphaned in my early 30's, still reeling from the death of my father just weeks earlier.

Roaming the large cemetery, my heart was stung by the vast number of graves it contained. How each of its 51,000 headstones represented immeasurable pain for countless people whose lives were altered by the crushing blow of the death of a loved one. As I walked up and down the hilly roadway noticing all the bare trees in the cemetery, it reminded me of myself -- how I felt so empty, frozen, and stripped of happiness now that dad was gone too.

My journey brought me to a magnificent tree which stood out from the others. It, too, was bare, but this one was still somehow beautiful. Its trunk was massive, its branches mighty and numerous, stretching out to almost touch the sky. It then occurred to me that I could be like that tree. As my dear cousin Maryanne reminded me, my roots are strong -- so I now realize that maybe I can survive this horrible ordeal after all.  Maybe I can grow even stronger and carry my head high and still somehow shine even though my leaves are gone ... and just wait for Spring to come.


UPDATE: This is what the tree looks like when Spring comes. My cousin was right ... I survived, my leaves grew back, and I continue to grow. Just like the tree.

© Copyright December 28, 1999 to present, by Deborah McGeorge, St. Augustine, Florida



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