The tree has provided us beautiful blossoms every summer. It is a lovely reminder that my son is not forgotten.
After this winter, though, I was not so sure it would make it. This winter was brutal, cold, and brutally cold. It was a winter that a lot of people, myself included, struggled to make it through. There did not appear to be any new growth on the tree. It seemed to have succumbed to the cold.
I started to clear away the dead wood as best I could. It left a bunch of pointy sticks that I was going to grab a shovel to dig up. The tree was dead anyways; why leave something in the ground to potentially impale my children (or, let's be honest, myself) on?
Then I saw it:
Hidden amongst the dead was new growth. New life. Tiny, persistent, struggling to get air and light and water...but alive.
A new reminder that life goes on. After I lost my son, I begged my husband to not let me go crazy. I seriously feared that I would go off the deep end. One might argue that I did, but I say I was this wacky before. I am talking the kind of crazy where I would take out my whole family and then myself. The kind of crazy where I would dump his ashes out and smear them all over me. The kind of crazy that people fear when they hear the words "mentally ill".
I know better now. The mentally ill are not to be feared. They are no more likely to hurt you than anyone else; in fact you are more likely to be harmed by a loved one who is not mentally ill. I have a mental illness; and I abhor violence and probably couldn't hurt a flea.
That new growth, coming up out of the ugly, pointy, dead wood...hope. That is what kept me going on. That is what keeps all of my clients going on; why I do what I do day in and day out despite people demeaning my profession; despite the stigma; despite the fear and desperation and frustrations.
It was what kept me going after Gabe died. It is what keeps me running outside when it rains and is sunny at the same time, looking for the rainbow. It is what keeps me saying the same things day in and day out.
Hoping that it will sink in. Hoping that it makes a difference. Hoping that it will get better.
Because it does. The new life will spring up from the carnage. That it will be just as beautiful.
That it will persevere.