Embracing Loss

Sunday late afternoon, I was heading back home from a walk.  We live in a neighborhood called The Pines, named for the dozens of pine trees planted in residents’ yards.  Over the past two decades, many of them have died and been replaced with more desert-friendly varieties, such as palo verde, mesquite, and Chinese elm (like we have here at the Seed).  We’ve lived in the neighborhood for over 20 years, and our tree has been one of the few remaining pines that’s thrived.  We’ve watered it consistently and kept an eye on its well being.  As I headed down the sidewalk, I looked up and noticed another pine tree was struggling.  I was filled with disbelief when I realized it was our tree.  

We spoke with our reliable tree consultant, and he verified that our tree is, in fact, dying.  I was crushed.  He told us many trees have suffered this summer, due to the extreme and extensive heat.  Added to the daily mix of stories about wildfires, hurricanes, and bleached coral reefs, it’s one more message that climate change is real.  I think about the layers and layers of grief piling up on us, as we hurtle through space on Planet Earth.  I’m generally a hopeful person, a necessary quality for a school leader and someone who cares for children.  The work itself keeps me going and fills my bucket, even though I am concerned about the kind of world we are leaving our children.  

As I’ve said many times, my way of coping with the stress and uncertainty of our planet’s future is to keep showing up, giving my energy and attention to the children before me.  This week, in particular, I’ve been especially appreciative of my work as I’ve processed another loss besides that of our pine tree.  On Monday morning I received a call from my brother that my mom had just died.  At 95, after a long and blessed life, she was experiencing multiple challenges, and we were all grateful for her peaceful passage.  Although I haven’t had much down time this week to fully receive the impact of her transition, I’m gradually adjusting to this new shift for our family.  In a few weeks we’ll hold my mom’s memorial service in Nebraska, to bring closure to her life.  In time I know I’ll write about her, and the many influences she had on my life that led to the founding of Awakening Seed.  For now I leave you with her obituary written by my brother.     

10 thoughts on “Embracing Loss

  1. Sending love & light from Washington, Mary. We miss you all and are so grateful our paths crossed for a time.

    Love, Jillian, Travis & Graham (now 6!)

  2. Sending love, peace and comfort to you and your family as you embrace the impact of your Moms life.
    Loving hugs, Mary.
    Kathy Monteiro

  3. So sorry for your lost is very hard to believe it, one day it hit us and realize that really have happened and will never seen them here again… big hugs in this transition and changes in your life, love

  4. Wrapping my arms around you and your family as you celebrate your mother. Your brother’s tribute of your mother’s life was beautiful. The legacy of your family is inspiring filled with reminders of how the love of family gives us the strength to persevere. May all the amazing memories of your mother help you turn the sadness in your hearts into joy as she would want. Peace
    Linda McGhee

  5. Mary,

    My thoughts are with you and your family as you reflect on your Mom’s life and all that she meant to you.
    Hugs to you.

  6. Mary,
    We lost a large and productive pink grapefruit tree the past month and finished taking it down this week. And we lost my father in February at 93.
    It’s hard to say goodbye to wonderful trees and people.

    May your mother’s memory be an abiding blessing for the entire family.

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