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.