At Thanksgiving time (1995), we planted a Royal Poinciana tree at Markham Park, where Krissy’s Memorial was held. I remember the day it was planted...it was November 20th, my Mom’s birthday (Krissy’s grandmother). It was a large tree—16' tall, 23' wide—and required a police escort from the nursery, about 3 miles away, to the park.
The night of the dedication, our friends and family gathered with us and circled her tree in candlelight. With Niki and Joie by my side, we attempted as best as we could to compose ourselves and share with our circle of friends some of the beautiful poems and songs that we had received from people all over the world as tributes to Krissy. At one point as I was reading a letter, much to our amazement, a large shooting star streaked across the sky. The letter I was reading at that time had stickers of shooting stars stuck all over it! We truly felt it was Krissy’s way of letting us know she was with us.
We brought wildflower seeds and had everyone pick one and plant them around the tree to symbolize that their love and friendship would continue to grow. Over the next few months, several of the seeds broke ground and treated us to another surprise: large sunflowers had claimed the inner circle of her tree! Of all the wildflowers planted, we find it heartwarming that she chose the sunflowers to grow closest to her trunk.
Each member of our family hung a wind chime in her tree’s branches that meant something special to us. Niki hung dolphins; Joie hung up the sun and moon; Aunt Mary hung some kitty cats; and Dad and I hung lighthouses. The park rangers say that they hear them all the time.
Through the months and years, Krissy’s tree has become a focal point of our family gatherings. We have found ourselves drawn to it for spiritual enlightening. It’s a place her friends can go to meditate or talk with her. Although she’s not physically there, we feel her spirit is. She sends us signs all the time...shooting stars...the way the wind always seems to kick up and tinkle the chimes when we’re there...photos we have showing sunbeams radiating over us, coming down from her tree...the sunflowers that came up.... Most special was what happened this Mother’s Day: Krissy sent me flowers—her tree started to blossom! It seems to be magical. Her friends have had special moments there, too (but they will remain personal).
In April (1996), Joie remarried and chose Krissy’s tree as the location for her private ceremony. Joie said, “that way both of my sisters can be there.” The sunflowers were in full bloom then; it was as if they were her bridesmaids. The wind chimes rang constantly, like church bells ringing, and a little yellow butterfly was ever-present.
The park rangers say Krissy’s tree is one of the most visited sites in the park. The marker at the base of her tree reads:
Through nature she will continue to blossom and grow, and the beauty of her spirit will live on. The tree will produce seed pods and, in future years, the seeds will be planted and her wish to have a family of her own will someday also come true...with a little help from Mother Nature.
Krissy’s tree is a very special place.
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Copyright 1997,1999 by Barbara Taylor. All rights reserved.