A young couple moved into a new house. The garden was unkept and empty. So the man planted a tree in the garden.
As the tree grew, so did their family. They had four fine sons who played in the garden, enjoying the shade of the tree in the hot summer months. There was joy and there was sorrow, but mostly joy.
The eldest son was the first to meet his wife and leave home. The whole family attended the wedding, and the next eldest son rejoiced in having a bedroom of his own. But soon he too left, met his partner, and settled down happily.
Mostly joy, but some terrible sorrow. The third son moved out but died in an accident in his new home.
Finally the fourth son also left.
The couple were by themselves in the house with the tree in the garden. They enjoyed many years together, visited by their children, their grandchildren, and even their great grandchildren. But time spares none of us. The man died, and his wife was left alone in the house, with only her memories. Even the visits from her family could not cure her loneliness and her heartache.
Then one night, a great storm hit the garden. The tree, for all its age and size, had shallow roots. It was pulled from the earth and thrown against the house. The woman looked on her uprooted tree, that had watched over her family for a lifetime, and shortly after, she too was dead.
Now men who have no knowledge of the family that lived by the tree will empty her house. A new family will live there and children will once again play in the garden. Maybe they’ll plant a new tree.
The eldest son is called Tony. His wife died the month before Christmas. The second son is my partner, Terry. Their mum died on Dec 23rd. And the tree still lies there, uprooted, in the garden.
RIP Wendy Smallbone (1936-2020)