several days after sky was born, some dear family friends of ours gave us a tree. it was a sweet little blue spruce in a red pot, and we put white christmas lights on it. after christmas, it moved to spend the early months of the year on the back porch. this spring, it sprouted soft blue little shoots all over.

it sat quietly through the summer, and we didn’t think about it much. i was barely home this summer, and the rare times i looked out the back window, my eyes traveled past the little grief tree to songbirds, city lights, and colorful sunsets.

until today, when i noticed its new shoots drooping, brittle and slightly parched. it’s still blue, not brown, but it definitely doesn’t appear to be enjoying the end-of-summer weather. apparently there’s no “pause” button for little grief trees. with attention, they grow large and beautiful; with neglect, they shrivel into a brown mess.

so i watered the little grief tree, until the water poured from its pot onto the porch and down 10 feet to the patio, spattering bikes and garden tools, streaming off the patio into the lawn.

maybe someday we will give the tree a permanent home in the yard to grow tall and beautiful, but not today. it’s not ready yet. i don’t think the tree has accepted its fate as forever a grief tree, and won’t appreciate the bitter soil a grief tree needs to thrive.

so, for now, the tree will sit in limbo, on the porch, unsure of its place in the world or identity or when it will be watered or if it will survive the rest of summer.



1 thought on “watering”

  1. Hi Lani, I have a grief plant that is a very special remembrance. When Ron’s mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer (Jared’s sophomore year at Multnomah, Aug of 2007), she seemed healthy and vibrant, a mere 6 weeks later she was gone. I moved into my in-laws home to help care for mom the last few weeks of her life, I was the one attending her when she passed. I loved my mother in law, very much, she was too young and adored her family. Ron’s dad had just begun his retirement, that had many plans. I guess she had a full life for which we are thankful, but it still was a tearing, horrible time for us.

    Ron’s folks have 5 children, 3 sons, and 2 daughters. My sister-in-law and her hubby, Ron’s brother, purchased small houseplants for each of us right after mom died. Something still living to represent our beloved who had flown to live in heaven. They were little 4 inch pots with a butterfly ornament made from a feather in each one. After the funeral I carried my little plant home from Calif, back to Arizona and placed it in our kitchen. This plant, I watered, and whose leaves I’d touch in moments of missing my sweet mom in law, reminded me of her, were somehow representing her life and love to us, it was important to me. It grew, it thrived… I’ve re potted it twice. It grew so profusely that it had a long vine of leaves that ran up my kitchen wall, and over my bay windows and down the other side. That was in 2010. Last winter we moved it because it was taking over the sink area. This amazing plant lives up in on a niche between our entry and kitchen, and the vine when last measured (over a year ago!) was over 100 feet long. I just keep winding the tendrils up and over the niche, which it has nearly filled in. It brings me joy now… it was a young small plant when mom left this earth, and is now big and green and filling it’s place… and every time I water it I remind myself that mom was still here when it came into existence. It’s very meaningful for me. I hope your spruce will be a source of joyful remembrance somehow, for you and Joel one day. In the future may Sky’s siblings dance around and decorate it in his honor.

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