wylie's tree

There is a skatepark inside a local park about ten minutes from our house. Ever since Ethan was a baby, he was captivated by the skatepark. He was absolutely in love. He and I would sneak out each night before dinner and watch the teenagers skate until the sky grew dark and the mosquitoes would make their nightly appearance. Before long, it was our happy place. Our special place. Our family place. Our place for picnics, for together time, to slip away and just be together. We have escaped to the skatepark several times since losing Wylie, each time hoping to find some clarity in the fresh air and the magic in Ethan's eyes. When I thought I couldn't find the skatepark more special than I already did, I was proven wrong.

Tonight, I went to the skatepark where some of our incredible friends were waiting and they unveiled a tree that they had planted for Wylie.

Not everyone who was involved in Wylie's tree was able to make it due to work schedules and vacations and the general chaos of life, but I've managed to call them out in gratitude on every social media platform and this blog is no different. Melissa, Heather, Nicole, Melanie, Shameka, Erika, Sara and Symantha: thank you. There aren't really any words to describe how grateful we all are for your friendship, kindness, thoughtfulness and love. The gift you have given us is beyond words and in it we have found a little comfort and healing, too. We will never forget Wylie, of course, but now she is part of the Earth and a piece of this city we love and included in our family memories for always.

When we got married in May of 2009, I had made the decision to incorporate this image of a tree into different bits and pieces of our wedding decor. Everyone would ask me "what does a tree have to do with anything?" and I would just shrug because I liked it and I saw one similar on a Counting Crows album and thought it was pretty. It's funny, in a way, how you fast forward a few years and Wylie was born on May 23rd, the same day we were married. And, now, there's that tree again, the spitting image of the one I created on our programs and favors and bridesmaid necklaces. Sometimes it takes a few years for the pieces to fit together and for your mind to understand the subliminal messages it was sending you. Wylie was always here and she always will be. In our hearts and, now, at our beloved skatepark.

I thumb through Wylie's baby book often and feel sad at how empty the pages are and how empty they will be forced to remain. Tonight I was able to add more to her baby book. Two poems, more photographs, another story about people who she never met who still love her and have helped us keep her memory alive. Sometimes I feel that as time passes, she will be forgotten but our friends have helped me to see that this isn't the case.

Tonight at her remembrance ceremony and the unveiling of her tree, my sister and I were both able to wear special pieces of jewelry created for us by more friends who love Wylie.

This one, from my friend Rachel.

And this one from my friend Rhian.

I have been struggling with how to get through what would be -- what should be -- Wylie's birth week and tonight my heart feels a little more calm. Ethan will grow up underneath the branches of Wylie's tree and I will breathe a little easier whenever the flowers bloom.

As we were leaving her remembrance ceremony I caught a glimpse of the sky and thought it was beautiful. All I could think of was that line from Garden State: "good luck exploring the infinite abyss." I whispered those words to Wylie once we got home.


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