Monday, August 18, 2008


Last week I faced losses, unexpected and painful.

A friend and coworker I have known for over 20 years died at age 55. She had planned on retiring to her 10 acre plot of land in Florida, build a sweet little house and spend her days boating on the lake, hiking and exploring nature. Her dream never happened.

Those of us who remain have reconsidered our lives and where we're headed. Will we get the chance to see our dreams come true or will we keep putting them off worrying ourselves over all the what ifs? It was so disturbing to meet up with so many old friends at a funeral--for one of our own. Realizing how fragile life is, we renewed our commitment to see each other more often and enjoy whatever life we have left spending time with one another.

I've had a dream of going to Australia all my life. I've put off going for one reason and then another. After experiencing the gut wrenching loss of one of my comrades who didn't get to live her dream, I've made a decision to go to Australia as soon as I retire. I think it's time to enjoy some of the money I've worked so hard to save and have an adventure.

And now a word about Grandfather Tree. I bought my house about 15 years ago and I selected it mostly because of the giant white oak in the back yard. I don't know what it was about the ancient oak that made me feel safe and protected, but I got positive vibes about his old spirit. A year and a half ago he was struck by lightning. I hired an arbourist to try to save him. Half of Grandfather Tree had to be cut away in the hopes that he would rejuvenate. Spring came and it looked like he was going to make it. Then the draught came. He just wasn't strong enough to overcome the effects of the draught and, limb by limb, he succumbed. He died last week and I feel that the spirit of my house went with him. Who would have thought a tree could mean so much, but he did.

I mourn the loss of Grandfather Tree and my friend. It is my hope that all living spirits continue in the universe in some way if only by remembering them. And so I keep the spirits of Grandfather Tree and my friend here in my heart.

Farewell my old friends. I hope we meet again.

Sarah McNeal

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