Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Amid Death And Devastation, A Tree Still Grows

Just six months ago, this was the site of dreams and memories burned to the ground. 
Last Saturday Alma Jean and I went on a drive to nearby Greene County in memory of my deceased sister Mary Beth. At the age of 69, she and her husband of 51 years perished in a tragic fire in their mobile home in scenic Shifflett's Hollow on the night of December 12, 2015.

Some of the possessions they had kept in several storage sheds were being sold in the yard sale at the Dyke Fire Hall on Saturday. From there we stopped by the site of their former home and then the Evergreen Church of the Brethren Cemetery where they were buried near a beautiful stretch of their beloved Blue Ridge mountains.

It was a pilgrimage that made the heart hurt. Not only did we experience flashbacks of our family's loss but we also relived memories of how our lives were forever impacted by Mary Beth's arrival in my parents' home as a foster child at four months of age. She was a devoted member of her adoptive family, and she and her husband Harven graciously hosted us many times in their double wide mobile home.

Most of the the ashes and debris from their fire had been buried in a large crater dug for that purpose nearby, much as one would bury a loved one's last remains. But grief doesn't bury easily. It still sticks to the pit of the stomach, demanding renewed attention from time to time as we recall the unimaginable and savor our never-to-be-forgotten blessings.

What struck me most upon visiting the site was the large silver maple standing stalwart and upright next to where the trailer once was, a tree I had never paid much attention to before. But now it stood out as if to guard the place, providing shade and speaking to some of what will long endure after we are all gone.

Come fall, it will drop bushels of silver and yellow leaves, but by spring it will again be fully dressed for yet another season of hope.

And so life goes on.

Here's a link to a photo and post about what happened last December

And here's another amazing part of my sister's story
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