Star Tree is a story for anyone who has experienced the grief that goes with being separated from a loved one.
Once upon a time a tree lived near my house in the middle of a big field.
Its leaves were green in the summer and gold in the fall. I loved my tree.
When I was sad, I told Tree all about it. And Tree listened and sent me nice cool breezes to dry my tears.
When I was happy, I told Tree all about it. And Tree listened and shook its leaves as we danced.
When I was mad, I told Tree all about it. And Tree nodded and just listened.
When I was scared, I told Tree all about it. And Tree wrapped its branches around me until I felt safe again.
One summer afternoon I went to talk to Tree. It had been a bad day and I wanted to tell Tree all about it. I walked through the field and looked up to see Tree waiting for me. But something was very wrong.
All of Tree’s beautiful leaves had fallen off and lay in a brown circle around its trunk. Tree was dead. I cried my loudest cry ever, but there was no cool breeze to dry my tears.
I sat for a long time in the dead leaves, missing Tree so much my heart hurt.
Then I closed my eyes and imagined….
I got up and threw the dead, brown leaves back up into Tree’s empty branches.
The leaves began to glow and shine like stars as they found their way back onto Tree’s branches.
I opened my eyes and Tree still looked dead, but when I closed my eyes and opened my imagination, Tree was there shining in the dark, covered in silvery, shiny, starry leaves.
I told Tree how sad I was. I told Tree how mad and scared I was to be left all alone. I told Tree all about it. Now I know I can visit my Star Tree any time I want. I can just close my eyes, imagine and remember.
Connie Palmer, LCSW is the Clinical/Training Director of Imagine: A Center for Coping with Loss located in Westfield, NJ. Imagine provides grief support groups for people of all ages. Go to imaginenj.org for more information.