I was reminded this week how powerful it is to remember those who have gone before us, and to do this with a tree.
My friend in Liverpool Cathy is very good at keeping her eyes peeled whilst on her travels and sent me a lovely tree up in Edinburgh EH3 – her first. She’s now sent me this lovely tree in Cornwall:
Cathy told me that this tree was planted by her niece – Nicky Reed – about six years ago, and it was only 9″ high then! Sadly Nicky passed five years ago, leaving her three sons and husband. She also left this tree in Lostwithiel and I’m sure it’s a fine legacy and memory to Nicky – and it’s now PL13 on the catalogue. Thank you Cathy.
The following is from an article written by the journalist Bel Mooney called ‘A living lesson in hope and renewal’:
There are fewer things more unselfish than planting a tree. I just ordered [an oak] to plant in our garden. But I’m unlikely ever to see the ‘baby’ tree grow tall. It will mature when I’m long gone, but that doesn’t matter at all. Because you plant a tree for posterity — and want it to outlive you.
In that way, planting a tree is a real investment in the future. You could even think of it as giving you a little bit of evergreen immortality, breathing on your behalf when you can do so no longer. And you will know that all this will continue when you are not there, all keeping ‘your’ tree company. All keeping your memories green.
Having said that, the fact remains that to plant a tree in memory of someone you love, who is no longer with you, can bring great comfort. This is not just because of the obvious delight of new life being set into the earth, to mark the one for which you grieve. The tree will grow much bigger, over a longer period of time — a fine statement which says: ‘This is how much I love you.’
I planted a tree for my friend Rachel – who died age 41 in 2012 of secondary breast cancer. What would be an appropriate specimen for a fine Australian rarity that Rach was? A Wollemi pine of course – these trees are not actually pines, but conifers that were though to be extinct. Imagine the excitement in the botanic world when they were ‘discovered’ in 1994, still alive in a gorge in Wollemi National Park in Australia. They are now available worldwide and a percentage of each sale goes towards preserving endangered species. (More about them here). Rachel’s Wollemi pine is very happy at Plot 44. I have a small seat next to it and sometimes sit and talk to Rach. It brings me great comfort.
My own monkey puzzle tree is a memory tree – an accidental one. I had been thinking of investing in my own tree, they are not an inexpensive purchase. Last June I took a funeral service for a man – N – he was young and his passing brought his family pain and sadness. His family told me his service was very comforting, and I used their ‘gift’ to show their appreciation to buy my monkey puzzle tree. And so I always think of it as ‘N’s tree’.
Cherish your memories, they keep those we love alive.
In memory of Nicky Reed.