THE SNOW BALL TREE
In early March, my grand nephew, Brian, was killed in a motorcycle accident. He was a handsome, quiet, strong young man who had just made a commitment to join the marines. His life had been hard, with parents who gave him little stability. My sister and her husband, Brian’s grandparents, gave Brian and his sister, as much love, normalcy and stability as they could as grandparents. Without their love I think Brian would have been a lost soul.
So great sadness and anger followed me around the week after Brian died. I found myself taking my anger out on a large oak tree in front of the house. I would sit and read Lindsey’s blog, cry a gallon of tears, and then take the dogs out before going up to bed. While waiting for the dogs one night, I reached down and started grabbing chunks of snow and throwing it at the tree and sobbing about how unfair life was. Being out in the country I wasn’t bothering anyone—no one could hear me. I could cry, scream, and smash those chunks of snow against the tree all I wanted. The release of the anger I had was almost immediate. With each throw I could feel these emotions leaving my body. I started laughing at the experience.
The next morning I took the dogs outside for their morning bathroom break and I looked up at the tree. There it stood in all its glory--so strong and determined--yet blotched with all the angry sentiments I had the night before. But the oak tree wore those blotches like badges of honor, as if to say when I can’t take it any more the great oak would be there for me. For several days until the weather warmed, it was a reminder of my journey from grief.
Although I have made progress, I don’t think it is over yet. Like Nora, Brian will never be forgotten.