We have tree traditions,
still accessible in diverse backward
of planting a commemorative tree
when a great and portentous series of loving events
comes to its untimely rest.
my middle son’s lifetime friend
decided it was time to travel with the starlight
and so he left us heartbroken,
trying to be happy for him,
and sad without him,
to become OK with his decision
that he had uncovered enough sadness
His final vote was cast
and no one else was invited
to participate in his great transitional selection.
So, my son and I
will go into our messy forest
also known as the back lot,
where former residents have dumped asphalt roofing shingles,
and buried an entire breaking down garage.
If we were to dig deeper than necessary
we would probably find other mislaid treasures.
Shattered glass bottles and hearts
and open rusted food and toxic feeling cans,
and plastic of all dismembering colors
and ugly unshapely shards of angst,
but this day
we will dig only as deep as we must.
We will first visit a handful of oak babies
sprouting up under bushes in the side yard
and among poison ivy on the north side
so my son can choose which of these
will become Greg’s oak tree of new life
yet still after suicidal death.
We will prepare this sapling’s new home,
digging a deep and wide welcoming hole
among back lot brambles of our thoughts and feelings,
then clear away potential choking vines and voices
now covering a clearing
surrounding trees have left
just right enough for a growing Greg
Large shade tree
to hug my son’s grandchildren,
and their Greg the OakTree loving children.
Then we will uproot our chosen new life tree
and baptize her future MotherTree roots
of sacred fertility,
and as we sprinkle holy compost
to shade her vulnerable transparency to shaded light,
we will sing our allegiance to gratitude
for each life created through Father Sun,
nourished with Mother Earth,
sadly smiled with sacred GrandMother Moon,
sprinkling sounds of thanks
for each day
of each life
this oak tree,
will continue bringing us.
We will read and look and listen as Jesus taught
it is ungrateful sacrilege to remain angry
about not having received more grace
than we could have earned with more generosity of time,
when we could choose instead
to give thanks for each day shared with us
doing the best we can,
to give care as we would continue to receive.
Our love for Greg
grows through this oak tree’s future shade,
and west wind protection
for all our future days of thanksgiving
and suffering lost loss,
security for our children’s
healthy and happier children
this canopy grown Greg
still choosing flight
with starlight nights.