About six months after my husband, Marty, passed away I turned to the creative voice within me to help me express my soul’s grief. After enrolling in a drawing class, we were given the assignment to go outside and draw a tree. I did indeed have a favorite tree, outside my house on the golf course and I would sit and look at it in the sunshine and the lightning storms, taking great comfort in its strength and dignity.
When I took my drawing pad outside to work on this assignment, to my horror and dismay I discovered that “my tree” was missing. It had been taken down and replaced with an ordinary palm tree. So, in a state of grief and loss, I drew my tree from one of the many pictures I had taken of it.
Once completed, I also wrote an elegy to this tree, my tree. It speaks volumes about what I was experiencing at that time in my life – a loss of any kind created a raw emotion that went down to my very core. The poem and artwork about “my tree” will always speak to my soul. And, as I have traveled with my work to art shows, it is one of my most popular pieces. It has a story and each traveler is touched in some way by the image of the tree. It is spiritual in nature, and I don’t think I had much to do with creating it other than to have it come through me onto paper. The image and words are meant to be shared.
Welcoming all to a vision of grandeur,
you stood tall and proud with your trunk rooted firmly in the ground
as your limbs reached towards the heavens.
I watched in awe as playful birds rested on your bare branches,
and marveled when your sparse limbs were
illuminated by gleaming sunbeams.
You withstood the force of fierce winds, unrestrained rainstorms
and seemed to revel as lightning danced raggedly around you.
During your time on earth, your spirit was one of
beauty, dignity, grace and, above all, courage.
Then suddenly one day you disappeared!
Thoughtlessly cut down to fulfill
man’s need for youthful perfection, you were
replaced with a rather unremarkable seedling.
Was it was time for your journey to
come to an end so that a new life could begin?
Nonetheless, your loss was jarring.
Know this oh grand tree ~
the indelible image of your
magnificent strength and glory
will always have a home within my soul!
© Laurel D. Rund 2009
Note: On the first year marker of Marty’s death, February 11th, 2010, I planted a beautiful bottle brush tree outside my office window with notes from me and my grandchildren under the roots of the tree. Birds and butterflies land on this tree, and it gives me great solace every time I look up from my computer and see it. It is the symbol of hope and regrowth.Tags: bereavement, getting to the other side of grief, how grief manifests itself, signs and connections