It has been quite a long time since I last posted. I’d like to say that was because we were off having some amazing trip somewhere, enjoying every minute of an adventure.
The last month of 2022, and the start of 2023, have been rocky, to say the very least. My father entered the hospital in early December, then a nursing facility, then progressed quickly to hospice, and passed away. Around that same time, we had a massive windstorm, lost power for three days, and tried to find some joy in the holiday season.
January started with my father’s celebration of life, while we still dealt with issues with vehicles, wheelchairs, and damage from the windstorm.
Amid all of this, we also endured another huge family loss, and one that likely is not what you might expect.
The windstorm knocked down our poplar tree.
This tree was far, far too large. It had been for decades. When we were just dating, I can remember my husband saying that the tree wouldn’t last much longer, as it was already far older and taller than most poplars. Every big storm, we would talk about maybe this was the end for our old friend, and until December 2022, we were always wrong.
The tree had been part of almost every memory on this property. We played horseshoes and croquet under it. We sat under it and talked. In the late spring, it covered everything with its downy strands. We watched our children grow up playing in its shade.
The tree was as much a part of the family as any person.
Suddenly, the morning my father passed, the tree also passed. It fell without us hearing a sound. Now, it could have landed on the animal barn, or the animals themselves, but it didn’t. No, it took out part of the back fence and the chicken aviary, but otherwise spared the barn and animals.
Every person who has come over had commented at the root ball that now can be seen reaching up into the sky, and even experienced excavators have said they do not know how to deal with even just the roots.
As I grieve the loss of my father, I often think of the tree as well. It feels like in losing both on the same day, that some of the stability in our lives has shifted. No longer do I look up at that tree over and over each day, either from the window or outside. Now there is a gaping hole in our skyline, just as there is one in our family lineage as well.
Over time, other trees and relationships will reshape those spaces, but they will never be exactly the same as they were.