A Tree Planted

May 19, 2024

Dear Mitch,

This year, the family celebrated our wedding anniversary by visiting Forestry Park, where they planted a tree in your honor. It was serendipitous that of the three days the park employees planted the memorial trees, yours happened to be on May 24.

The planting of a tree in your honor brought both sadness and joy.

It helped that this was the second wedding anniversary without you here, but it still hurts all the same. The idea that others in the community thought of you and donated this tree and plaque commemorating your time on City Council was humbling. After a year and three months since your death, the community still shares in our pain and thinks of ways to honor you. I am forever grateful to this amazing community. Every day, they give me virtual hugs.

Lexi and I take Colson on stroller rides through the park;

we always make sure to go by Papa’s tree. We often start talking about our memories of you. Each time, there are fewer tears and more laughter. The memories are not sharp shards of pain; they have softened over time so that the memory that was always joyous can continue to be one of happiness.

So, as I write the above phrase, I am getting to that place others before me, in deep grief,

said I would get to. I am having more consequential days where I feel the sun shining on my face, a smile on my lips, laughter, and joy in my heart. I am coming back to life, feeling my broken heart slowly putting the shattered pieces back together so I can love again. I love my grandson enough for the both of us. I feel the full joy of having this blessing in my life.

It’s a way of honoring you and starting to live again. I know this is what you have wanted for me—not to stay in the darkness but rather to live in the light.

With all my love,

Nicole

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  1. Nicole, again I read with tears and smiles too. I love how you said ‘you love your grandson enough for both of you’ that brought an instant smile.
    Yes, what an amazing community that dear Mitch was such a huge part of.
    I can feel Mitch in your writings and I just know he is smiling that you are feeling some light. You had the best love that just keeps on loving. 🙏❤️🙏

    1. Marianne,
      Lexi, Colson and I went to put flowers on Mitch’s grave this past weekend. It was so cute how Colson easily accepted that Mitch “is here”. He said, “by-bye papa.” and blew him a kiss. It was so precious.

      I think of these letters as a legacy of Mitch’s life, as well as a legacy to all those who are grieving. Mitch is always present as I write. At times, I feel he is guiding me as to what to say.

      Hugs,
      Nicole

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