Sunday, June 24, 2012

Matthew's Tree

Shortly after Matthew was born, our wonderful preschool gave us a white Crepe Myrtle tree as a memorial.  It was a wonderfully touching, kind thing for them to do.  We have it planted outside the kitchen window and right near where we park our cars.  I walk by Matthew's tree several times a day and am able to stare at it as I wash dishes or cut vegetables.  Most of the time it brings me a great deal of comfort...the tree is living and thriving (and hopefully will bloom in July, near his birthday) and reminds me that out there, somewhere, in a very real way, I believe, so is Matthew.  Often if we have leftover water from a water bottle or cup, I use it to water Matthew's tree.  I have this mental image that I'm not wasting the water because I'm nurturing this tree that represents my son's life.  It's this one act of caring that I can do for my son.  Maybe that sounds crazy to you, but somehow it feels good to me.  Usually.

The other day I was pouring some water into the soil at the base of the tree and it hit me--that a tree is a lousy substitute for a baby.  I wanted to have a baby, and instead I have a tree.  And all of the sudden, like grief so often comes, I found myself sobbing and shaking and wondering how and if this all actually happened.  It's been almost two years, and while the waves of intense grief hit the shores of my heart less frequently, they are still enough to knock me down when they come.  I don't know if I will ever fully get used to being mama to this tree instead of that boy.  But I will try, when I water that tree, to remember our time together and trust that in some cosmic way, in God's great big love, he and I are still united. 

Matthew's tree on his birthday last year


  1. My Dear Friend,
    I am so sorry that you don't have that precious child to nurture in your arms. I wish I could take the pain away. I am sure he feels you nurturing him with your heart while our Father holds him in Heaven. <3

  2. The grief will never go away. Not after you deliver your sweet child, dead. I'm 4 years past my sweet one's death, and the sadness still hits me sometimes like a brick and I end up weeping. We have great hope and strong biblical evidence that we will both see our babies in heaven. And like a tree, it's a little comfort but not a replacement for the child we should have held, nursed, sang to, and watched go off to college and get married. Love you Sarah.

  3. I was thinking that the other day when I wrote about my necklace. "I sure would rather have my babies, but I guess this will do for now." It really does hit you out of nowhere, doesn't it?

  4. "As you don't know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the maker of all things."
    Ecclesiastes 11:5
    Matthew is in you, and you are in him, as we are all in the Father... we are all part of the Holy Fabric. One.
    Love you Sarah.

  5. Oh, Sarah. You're so right -- and I don't know what else to say except that a tree really is a beautiful symbol and a very lousy substitute for your sweet baby. Sending hugs and light...