Trees and Angels and Believing


The day I learnt the Magnificent Redwood Tree in Prouty Garden had been taken to with saws and axes in the first stages of the destruction of the healing space at Childrens Hospital Boston; the place where Jesi, conscious and laughing and chatting in her wheelchair inhaled her last breaths of fresh air, (August 2014) where she watched the squirrels play, felt the silky soft petals of roses and smelt the aroma of summer: On that same day, the last remaining lights of her Christmas tree which has stood in her bedroom through all the seasons of all the years since that first Christmas without her, extinguished completely, leaving her room that night in total darkness.
When I passed by the black empty space of her doorway and it occurred to me why there was no light shining from within, I was not surprised.


I cried when I heard about the tree in Prouty Garden. I imagine Jesi did too. If spirit children cry. Perhaps that is why it rained and snowed on Monday, the day they took to the tree with saws and axes, (I imagine, for I was told it was blocked from public view.) Perhaps that is why the sky that day sobbed, all those angels in heaven weeping for that tree which had given their-suffering-sick-child-bodies hope that they would, that they could reach for something beyond the illnesses that ravaged their bodies. That if a tree could grow so magnificent in the midst of city buildings and city streets with all the noise and commotion buzzing around it, they too could heal from pain and suffering. But the tree could not survive the illness either. This past week it lost its arms and legs. I wonder where those lost limbs lie now and who will grieve their passing.

Jesi has been close to me this week. She understands. When I arrived at Walden Pond to walk on Friday afternoon she blew in on a gust of cold wind, across the pond from the south west. I got this sudden sense of her completely unexpected. She knew that last week when I was there I was thinking about her and about Prouty Garden and the tree. {If you wish to read the blog post, or see a couple of photos of Jesi in the garden click here. She was letting me know she was with me again as I wandered amongst the trees this past Friday.

She was with me last Sunday when I went in search of a special ornament to hang on what would be a new Christmas tree in our house this year.
Knowing Jesi’s special tree was losing its light, Alan and I decided to buy something new for Christmas to honor Jesi’s presence within our family.
“I have no idea what I’m looking for” I told Alan as we drove to the local Christmas shop. “But I’ll know it when I see it.”

When I found it I had already spent about fifteen minutes scanning the hundreds of ornaments dangling from trees, sitting in baskets and displayed on tables as I navigated my way around the store. I was beginning to lose hope that there was anything that would feel right at all. Alan who had headed off in another direction appeared with a long candle holder decorated with birds.
For the table,” he announced.
It was pretty, but it wasn’t the Jesi ornament. We began talking and as we did I continued to scan a basket to my left, but I knew I was distracted. After he wandered off I thought about how mindless I had been looking at its contents. So I walked over and peered down at the gold and silver foil ornaments it held. Then I saw her.


I picked her up and held her in my hands for a couple of minutes turning her over and lying her inside my palms. She was perfect. She had Jesi’s youthful energy and her lightness of spirit. I must have stood there holding her, looking down at her for a couple of minutes. The once busy store seemed to have emptied of people. Except for one person, a short dark haired woman who walked purposely past me toward the front of the store. As she passed me said
“That’s my favorite piece in the whole store.”
I looked up and replied. “Yes, I am sort of taken by it too.” But she had continued on her way. Then she disappeared.
When I found Alan I told him I had what I had come for and showed him my angel. We headed toward the cashier to purchase it and the other ornaments we had collected along the way.

It wasn’t until the following day that I was able to put the last piece of the puzzle about the angel together completely. During a meditation while I was contemplating fulfillment the image of Jesi’s face appeared as she had appeared to me many times in the past …. During many swims across Walden pond in the summer of 2014 while she lay in her hospital bed I would visualize her face as serene as the Buddha’s and next to the Buddha face itself. No, no I would cry into the waves and the water. Please don’t take her from me. For that was before she passed into spirit. Those were the times I would touch some knowing inside me that I could not bear to let myself know. Now, in my meditation her Buddha face appeared again. I had no fear of it now though, for when she did pass in September 2014 and I lay next to her lifeless body on her bed, hers became that same Buddha face. Serene and beautiful with pale soft skin and only hair like peach fuzz framing her face. But this time, next to her Buddha face the young angel girl skipped and danced and sparkled merrily. And I heard Jesi whispering. I’m here mama. I’m still here. I’m with you.


And I knew that was what Jesi had come back to tell me.

This entry was posted in angels, Mother's Healing Journey after Loss, Prouty Garden Childrens Hospital Boston, Spiritual Beliefs, Writing about Grief and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Trees and Angels and Believing

  1. What a beautiful angel! Lovely writing – thanks for sharing!, Liz

  2. Diane Gallagher says:

    Dear Liz —
    Your search for the angel makes such sense..Jesi was guiding you to her and you found each other. As you comforted Jesi, she is now comforting you. And somewhere, Mother Nature is comforting that tree from Prouty garden.

    I know that as Christmas approaches, it is this passage to December 25 that forces us to look hard and deep at loss in terms of time. At these most poignant holidays, I try to think of time as linear when I start obsessing at my calendar…I remind myself that time is movement forward, nothing more, nothing less. With Alan and Kari and Chris, you will all be with Jesi on that day as you are every day. Love is love…it is just as big and amazing today as it will be tomorrow. And two weeks from today on Christmas morning when the new angel will shine even brighter for Jesi.

    With love, Diane Gallagher

    • newstart4liz says:

      Hi Diane ..I love to read an reread your wise and grounded words …. of course you are right and Jesi is always with us no matter what time of year or what season it is …. this season and the holidays do seem to trigger more feelings of loss …. but in essence i do know she is always watching over us and smiling her beautiful smile on all of us who she loves …. love to you too ❤ Liz

  3. Lisa Cimino says:

    So beautiful Liz! Your words always make me tear up – very precious moments!! xoxo

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