The Big Tree

I’ve been hearing from people who have recently lost someone they loved very much. I decided to re-post something I had written a few years ago about a friend who had died the year before. I hope it helps in healing:Thebigtree

A year ago today one of my closest friends died unexpectedly. It was the biggest loss of my life, filling me with grief I never knew I could feel. Richard was part of my atmosphere, someone I could count on. He was always there for me.

I sobbed for two weeks without stopping when I learned of his death so very far away. I would never see him again or hear his warm voice promising to visit. I would never hear him call me foolish or crazy in that way that should have sparked anger, but instead made me feel loved. This was a man whom all should have known. I grew because of him. I became the strength he saw in me. And sometimes it feels like he took it with him when he left.

Life is a landscape. When we look outside our window, we see some people as beautiful flowering plants, others, thorny bushes. There are annuals and perennials and too many weeds. Most of these relationships wither with time, replaced by others. A special few continue to blossom, adding beauty to our days. If we’re lucky, two or three big trees punctuate this place, constant, throwing their comforting shade across the years. When others leave we grieve, but time fills up the hole with soft moss or new sprouts. Something wonderful eventually grows to heal what was lost. But when one of the big trees gets ripped from our world, nothing ever replaces it. Our landscape is changed forever. Richard was one of those big trees, out at the corners my life.

One day I will join him, wherever he went, and knowing that diminishes my own fear of death. There’s something comforting about knowing someone you loved is waiting, ready to catch you when you fall from life. Maybe that’s why those we love sometimes leave too early. Could we have made a deal before birth that this time, he would leave first?

Richard died on this day and tonight I will go to the place we met many years ago and share a martini with his memory. Richard died on this day. Maybe if I keep telling myself that, somehow I will believe it and my heart will finally accept those ugly words.

I guess pain is a small price to pay for having him in my life for as long as I did. In some strange way we are closer than ever before. He now belongs to the Invisibles and is with me whenever my thoughts go to him. I feel him laugh at my worries, still share my schemes. And on some lucky nights, he comes to me in dreams and lives again.

For all of you who have lost one of your big trees, I send my blessings. And I send hope that you come to realize that what you lost was worth what you gained in loving them. It doesn’t take away the pain. Nothing ever will. But there are others who love us. We are alive! I can’t think of a better way to honor them than by living our lives fully, passionately, the way they would have.


  1. Lisa Vogeli or elizabeth on fbk says

    thank you so much for sharing..everything you so personal and special to me..helps me to keep keeping on…shining that lite..and appreciate..ea day/breath..of this life…

  2. Lynnda,

    Your words so filled with love, are a great source of comfort. I recently lost of one my tallest trees. The news was sudden and like you, I could not stop crying. I so totally relate to all you say. Thank you for reaching out.


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