Today is the first anniversary of my dad’s death. I was with him when he died in the hospice, though he was no longer conscious by then. But I know I was there, and I’m glad I was, even though being there to witness his death was not a pleasant experience.
At around the time of his death today, I went out to sit by his tree we planted by our ritual circle. My mother-in-law bought us the tree as a gift. It was her idea to plant the tree in his honor. When she asked which kind of tree we wanted, I just told her I wanted a small, native understory tree that wouldn’t mind growing underneath our big oaks, so she chose a Mexican buckeye. My husband dug the hole for it, and I sprinkled some of his ashes into the hole before we put the tree in. It’s across the circle from where we buried one of our cats, Kay-kay, when she passed away (she got an American beautyberry planted over her grave). Kay-kay passed away in September of 2013, on the week of the Autumn Equinox and the same week dad was diagnosed with cancer. Then dad died six months later, right after the Spring Equinox of 2014.
My dad’s tree just started to get its leaves, and after sitting there for a while, I noticed it’s got a few small, pink flowers starting to bloom. The tree is only about knee-high right now, but it will grow.