Tree Huggers

My girls give me a hard time when I don’t recycle.  I remember Kelli digging a plastic six-pack holder out of the trash and lecturing me on the importance of cutting the rings.  She and Maddy sometimes would pull aluminium cans out of the recycle bin and take the pull tabs off, if I forgot.  I would go to throw something away and I’d get a “can you recycle that?” question.  Of course, these are the same children who think nothing of leaving their lights and TVs on in their rooms while they are downstairs on the computer. 

I called Kelli a tree-hugger once.  I had to explain to her what it meant.  I found out recently that Jessica actually emailed a friend a timeline showing how long it took to break down different types of litter after she threw something out the car window. 

So because they really were environmentally aware (electricity and three baths a day notwithstanding), it’s only fitting that some recent tributes to them involve planting trees.

My dad has planted two tall birch trees at his house at the Lake of the Ozarks.  Some of his friends got together and gave him the trees.  They are already over 10 foot tall, and beautiful.  He has planted a yellow rose bush under Jessica’s tree (as she was the Texas baby), and we’re looking for a lipstick rose bush to plant under Kelli’s. 

Becky Loyet has also planted two magnolia trees in her yard in memory of Jessica and Kelli.  These will have deep pink blossoms.  I’m sure they will be gorgeous next Spring.

Today I went to a ceremony at Kelli’s school.  Her class wanted to do something in her memory, so they decided to plant a tree for her.  The teacher who coordinated the effort, Mr. Holland, did an awesome job of coordinating the ceremony. 

A permanent plaque will be installed in a few weeks, which will have Kelli’s name and a quote I found which really spoke volumes to me:  “He who plants a tree, plants a hope.”

I hope these trees grow old, because they weren’t able to.  I hope these trees represent the strength we need to get through this tragedy.  I hope these trees bring a sense of peace to those of us struggling to understand.  I hope these trees become beautiful monuments to two young women who were also beautiful in so many ways.


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8 Responses to Tree Huggers

  1. Wendy Uhl says:

    We also received certification of trees planted in the girls’ name through the Arbor Day society. These were donated in memory by family members. The trees are planted in an Illinois State Park. Somewhere. I wish I knew. Maybe this summer we’ll visit each park and hug a tree just for Kelli and Jessica.

  2. tricia says:

    I don’t know any of you and maybe this is inappropriate, but I want you to know that this website has touched my heart.
    I am truly sorry for your loss.

  3. tricia says:

    (I meant maybe it’s inappropriate for me to comment since we are strangers.)

  4. abunslife says:

    Hi Kim, Just wanted to let you know that I love reading all the stories about your girls from everyone. It makes me feel like I knew them. 🙂

  5. Kaitlin dahl says:

    I really need you.. its still so extreamly hard for me, i cant even imagine what your going through..I miss going over to your house all the time, and you buying me and kelli icecream 🙂 i just think it would be nice if i could see you, even though id probably break down.. and wouldnt even get a word in edgewise. I dont know, but I really do miss you.. and im sorry that I havnt been buy to say hello or see how things were going.. you just have to understand how hard it is to even go near your house

  6. Dad says:

    I love you honey

  7. Marta says:

    Kim – what you said about the trees was beautiful – I wanted to share this poem with you…

    The Tree
    The calm quiet strength of a tree
    Anchored deep in the earth
    Reaching high in the sky
    The calm quiet strength of a tree

    The calm quiet strength of a tree
    Full of life from its roots
    To the tiniest branch
    The calm quiet strength of a tree

    And oh, how it comforts me
    How it teaches me
    Without a sound
    Then I realize at once
    That this tree and I are one
    In eternity

    The calm quiet strength of a tree
    From the weight of its trunk
    To its delicate leaves
    The calm quiet strength of a tree

    The calm quiet strength of a tree
    Showing anyone near
    All the secrets of time
    The calm quiet strength of a tree

    by Tom Splitt
    Listen to The Tree

    Love you,

  8. MitchellSTL says:

    Thank you for sharing moments of your life.

    I too have had a similar moment with my son when he was younger (about 7 years old). He would run and get the scissors so he could cut the plastic six-pack rings. Till this day (he’ll soon be 16), he still does it…though he rips them with his hands instead of scissors. =)

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