My Tree of Life

Sam and me
In memory of Sam, March 2, 1998 - April 30, 2007.
Sam and me
In memory of Sam, March 2, 1998 – April 30, 2007.

It was a ten-inch tall mini-tree in a small plastic pot that sat on the coffee table in the living room. Sprinkled with silver glitter and embellished with tiny silver ornaments. An impulse purchase at Target one December years ago. An attempt at decorating for the holidays, at living.

silver ornaments

After a while, I dusted off the glitter, removed the silver balls, and repotted the small pencil-thin tree. I thought it would like living on the patio, so out it went. I hoped I could keep it alive. But eventually, it withered and turned brown. Too much sun and water? Not enough?

I couldn’t throw it out. And I couldn’t watch it die. So, I moved it to the backyard, around the corner near the A/C unit. Out of sight, out of mind. A few years passed. And in that mostly shady spot, sitting all alone, neglected in its faded green pot, the little tree appeared to be alive. Pale green, but still green.  

2016 tree

In 2016, I replanted it in the same spot where it had come back to life. Not wanting to mess with progress. It was still small, only three feet tall. And I hoped, yet again, that I could keep it alive.


Three years later, this is what I see through my backyard-facing window. A beautiful twelve-foot-tall tree that continues to grow and live. Its two trunks are woven together so it is actually two trees in one. Brothers? Mother and son? Whatever I want it to be, it will be. My progress. My hope. My tree of life. 

Tree Backyard Apr 2019

If you are trying to “live” after loss, you will forever have to make multiple replanting attempts. With time though, and sometimes neglect, you will begin to see the pale green again. You will grow and you will make progress. It may happen when you are out of sight, out of mind, or sitting alone in the shade. And whatever you want it to be, it will be. Your progress. Your hope. Your tree of life.


By Deanna

Rewriting life after the loss of a child.

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