My dear friend came to see me the night before this anniversary. I had been “hibernating” for days and she stopped by to check on me. ( I love my dear friend!) She asked me how I was. I started to cry. She started to cry. And then she said to me,” You need to go and get your tree! ”
A little history. I have wanted to go and get a tree for Ethan for the past year. Something ALWAYS happens and we come home with no tree. Whether it is the youngest having a total melt down at the nursery. Or the oldest having a teenage moment. We have gone several times and have come home empty handed. It has crushed me and hurt me many times. My friend said,” You cannot control everything else. You NEED this tree tomorrow and you need to go and get it and get your hands into the earth..into the dirt.” And she was so right. I needed that tree.
That evening I approached my husband and told him that I was going to go and get Ethan’s tree that next day. I explained to him that I would love for him to go but if it wasn’t what he needed to get through this day, I would understand. Explained to him that I needed this. I needed to feel the dirt between my fingers. Needed this to heal. Of course, he wanted to be there too. ( love that man!)
My husband and I dropped the youngest off at Grandma’s house that next morning. And we went to find Ethan’s tree. I wanted a Japanese Maple. Growing up my dad always had one in the backyard and I associate it with comfort and peace. So we went and looked. And the sweet gentleman who helped us said,” Walk around until a tree speaks to you.” Speaks to us? Hmmm.My husband and I were starting to get a little stressed after about an hour. I reminded him of when we were trying to pick out Ethan’s name. There was this…pressure to pick the most perfect name for him. More pressure becasue we knew he would never come home with us. I think my husband and I both felt this way about his tree. So….almost two hours later we found Ethan’s tree. It was tucked away in the back of the nursery. Surrounded by amazingly grand trees. His tree was simple and not the most beautiful of trees. But it spoke to us. It needed us. It was Ethan’s tree.
So, we loaded it up. My husband had to go to work so I brought it home alone. I carefully unloaded it from the truck and set it in the backyard. I cried. And I cried. As if this tree signified me bringing home what I lost a year ago.
I know he is gone. I know this everynight when I fall asleep and the last thing I see, before I close my eyes, is his tiny cherry wood box of ashes on the shelf by my bed. I know this everytime I watch Crazy#3 play and know that he should have a little brother to play with. I even know this when my very best friend comes to visit with her son ( who was born three weeks before my son ) and I hold him and wonder what Ethan would look like right now.
I know it sounds crazy but having this beautiful tree in our yard…..feels like Ethan is here with us. It’s like….he will never be here with us…growing and getting older but his tree? It will be here. With all of us. Everyday. Every year. Growing with us and never being far from us.
And this brings me a sense of calm. A sense of peace.