Sunday, June 14, 2009

Removing Old Trees

Last month, in the midst of traveling from coast to coast, I read the book "The Longest Trip Home" by John Grogan.  
He also wrote "Marley and Me" that I read a few months ago.  
When I first wanted to read this book, I did not really realize the entire story.
I knew it was a memoir and I love memoirs of semi-ordinary people.  
So one of my friends bought it for me.  
Again, I am not sure when.  
It was in the stack next to my bed.

The basic premise of the story is about how hard it is to move away from author's parents.  
Not distance wise but forming his own beliefs.  
Becoming his own person.
Even when that meant going against what his parents believed.  
But then he had to reform that relationship between his parents and himself.  
It is a great book.
I laughed.
I cried.

I really enjoyed reading it except for one tiny part.
Okay, big part.
The author's father dies at the end.
Which I guess is not abnormal but there was a striking familiarity to me.
The author and his siblings had to take his father off life support.
A hard horrid decision.  
I sobbed.
And sobbed.
And sobbed.  
And I was on a plane.  
This was when I started to feel wobbly.  
I did not know this was part of the book.
I probably would not have read it if I had known.  
At least not now.
Or anytime soon.

I am pretty much over most of my guilt from having to remove Roger from life support but it is still a painful memory.  
It is still something I will never forget.
It was still the hardest decision I have ever had to make.
And still one of the worst days of my life.  
I do not even know which one was worse - the day of the accident or the day of his death.

One chapter in the book really spoke to me.  
The family home had this huge maple tree in their backyard.
The family loved this tree.  
They climbed it as kids.
They had family BBQs underneath it.  
In all its glory though, the author calls it a "flora bully" as it took up all the sun, water, and food for other plants.  
Nothing else could grow there underneath the tree.  

After living many decades, during a winter blizzard, the tree falls and dies.  
The author compares it to losing part of his family.  
But the author's father, after going through a brief grief period, sees the opportunity in the loss. 
So he decides to plant a garden in the same spot where the maple once lived.

His father starts investing in this new dream.
He toils the earth.
Puts in some perennials.
          "My father's exercise was a vote of confidence in the future."
And then this is the part that really touches me.  
Yes, the loss of a tree touched me.
          "The garden would rise and flower and stand as a modest testament to nature's exquisite exuberance and sweeping rhythms, and to its unsentimental resilience... Seasons change, trees fall, seeds sprout.  From death and decay spring new wonders. Life moves irrevocably forward."

I feel like I am investing in my future.  
I quit my job.
I am back in school.
I am back to dating.
I am back to living.
My old life died.
Roger left me.  
But without his death, none of those things would be possible.  
I loved that old "tree."
I wish "it" was still here.

But through his death, I am facing a lot of new opportunities.  
Things like going to school full time which would not be possible before.  
Things like falling in love again.
Things like having first kisses again.
Things like a new different life.
Not that I wanted to kiss someone else or fall in love with someone else or have a new life but those can be fun things.  
I will be able to say I had more than one life when most people barely live one.
New growth.
New life.    
"From death and decay spring new wonders."

1 comment:

Supa Dupa Fresh said...

What a fantastic image and your reflections on it are so wise. As ever.