Sunday, August 21, 2011

We Pulled the Plug (Part 2)

    This is a continuation from yesterday.  Here's that link:

     Like I wrote yesterday, we have two amazing trees behind our house.  One reminds me of my son who passed away because it's weak and small.  The other tree is a weeping willow--huge, healthy, willing to do anything to shade the smaller tree.  It reminds me of how I was when my boy was alive.
    So anyway, a windstorm came, the likes of which our town has never seen.  I stood, staring through the back window.  I couldn't pull my eyes from the little tree, which whipped about.
    I finally couldn't take anymore, so I ran upstairs and rested next to Cade.  I fell asleep after a while, having fitful dreams that Zeke was on life-support, but when we took him off, he grew into a seven-year-old and screamed at me through a storm, "I didn't want to die.  I didn't want to!"
    I sat up then, sweating from the nightmare.  The house practically rocked from the power of the winds outside.  Cade sat up too and splayed the blinds with his fingers.  "Holy, cow," he said.  "I think our little tree's gonna fly out of the ground or snap in half." 
    I knelt beside him.  As I looked outside, my heart stopped beating.  My breath stilled like the day Zeke died.  Our little tree's branches wept in the wind.  The trunk bent so far, the upper branches touched the ground.

    Cade shook his head and lay back in bed, but I couldn't.  After he fell asleep again, I tiptoed down to the back door.  I still don't know why (maybe it's because the tree is eight, like Zeke would have been), but I decided to go outside.
     Now, when I watched the news earlier, the winds were expected to hit 80/85 mph.  When I opened the door, it swung back so hard, I jumped away before it hit me.  The wind rushed past.  I went to the side of the door and hung onto the jamb, just so I could pull myself outside.  I struggled for a second, put my hip along the siding and managed to pull the door shut.  
    I've never been in winds like that, ones which make people question or gain faith.  
    Nature pushed me straight against the house.  As I closed my eyes, I got vertigo and remembered sky diving.  I thought of when I'd fallen through the skies, when the air ripped my face, carving it into a jackal's smile.  My teeth had frozen then too.
    But I wasn't falling this time, I was watching my baby tree die.
    I opened my eyes.  Branches flailed like a man being tortured.  Leaves hit me in the face.  The winds changed direction every so often and so did my tree.
    I tried running forward, to hold my tree strong, but I slammed into the house again, unable to go anywhere.
    I almost screamed then, begging the weeping willow to do something--anything.  Hadn't it represented me?  Hadn't it always protected the baby tree. Maybe it still symbolized my actions and that's how I was, useless, helpless against nature and God's control.      
    I just wanted my tree to live . . . I'd just wanted Zeke to live.
    I've always wondered how people could watch martyrs die, but now I know.  Instead of trying to go back inside, I stayed there and watched.  Even though death might come close, snatching someone or something you love, sometimes being a witness to the sacrifice means almost as much as the death.  I pictured Jesus on the cross, the sacrifice He must have made.  I pictured my son dying in my arms. 
    My baby tree cracked; one of its limbs flew against the house.  I cried then, lamenting over far more than the storm.  As I sobbed, the wind stole my tears and my face stayed dry as I wept.
     The tree cracked again, another branch twirled oddly, barely hanging on.  That's when I couldn't take it anymore.
    "God," I screamed, praying into the night.  "Don't let it die.  Please don't.  It reminds me of Zeke, like part of him is still with us as long as this tree's here.  Please save it, God!  You had to take my son, but don't take this symbol of his life too!"
    I waited a moment, held my breath . . . and the wind changed.  Although it rushed harder than before, it came from a different direction.
    The willow, that strong, peaceful willow bent over, wrapped it's branches around Zeke's tree.  I sobbed harder, watching as the big, healthy tree, got the brunt of the attack.  Willow branches flew around the yard.  It took a harder beating than the baby tree ever had because the new winds sought death. 
     The baby's branches swayed, then tilted up to a regular position.  It danced slightly, but remained unscathed as the willow continued whipping about, fighting with everything it had.
    I turned my attention to the huge tree.  It was a painful sight, something I'll never forget.  Because the willow started dying so the baby could live.
     As I stared, watching the willow whose strength went beyond anything, I stopped.  It seemed to hug the baby.
     Something profound struck my heart.
     The willow hadn't represented me.  The willow represented God.  And the little tree, the one who had such a hard time standing alone, had been me.  
     I got an overwhelming feeling then; some things happen for a reason to better other people, to give us thankfulness, gratefulness for things we still have.
     A voice ran through my mind softer than silk,  "I love you, Elisa.  I've always been there for you, and I'll never leave you."
    The battle raged on, but I found lasting peace through the storm.
    God saved my tree that night.  He saved both trees, and I realized He'd been looking after them the whole time, just like He's looking out for me 
. . . for all of us.

    Learn more about Zeke's story here:


  1. Your thoughts on paper (as it were) can bring tears to my eyes.

  2. The imagery here is beautiful Elisa. Just as you are my friend. Inside and out.
    That willow is like God but in a way it's like you.
    You have suffered and your limbs and trunk have taken an emotional beating, but Zeke? He is whole and happy in Heaven on God' knee waiting for you to come hold his hand and walk him down the streets of gold one day.

  3. Wow, just, wow. I teared right up. The line "my face stayed dry as I wept" was so well said.
    thanks for sharing your story. :)

  4. Lovely. What an intense experience on so many levels. Where do we find the strength?

  5. So beautiful! I'm just a bundle of tears right now.

    Lots of love today!


  6. These two postings--yesterday's and today's--are profound. They explore the mystery of the Oneness we share with all creation.

    You and Zeke, Hippie and Zombie Elf, Scribe and Doctor Jones, Cabe and the willow tree and the tree fighting to survive are all part of the Holy Oneness of All Creation. You live and breath and have your being in that Oneness.

    What happened in that windstorm was truly a transcendent experience for you. You became part of the mystery.

    Oh, I'm breathless after reading this story that has to have been the seminal experience of your life. It is woven into all the postings on your blog--it is within the serious ones that makes us think, the humorous ones that makes us laugh, the grateful ones that makes us fall to our knees. You have entered into the blessing of Oneness. Peace.

  7. I don't know how anyone could read your blog & choose NOT to be a follower! You move me on a daily basis--either to tears, as today--or "wet my pants" laughter (usually). You are a blogging treasure & a good friend, dear Elisa. I'm so glad Melynda steered me to you!

  8. Elisabeth,
    You've written so beautifully about Zeke. I can only imagine the depth of your sadness of losing him. But your words help everyone who has grieved over a loved one. I look forward to reading "The Golden Sky."
    Take care.
    P.S. Love the imagery in your writing.

  9. Let me start of by saying i have the most wonderful wife in the world. Im impressed with everything she does in life, weather its raising our kids or writing/sewing/ect. Now on another note. YOUR IN BIG trouble little missy! Ya see, she signed me up for a mens choir for a AngelWatch, people who helped me and her through some hard times with the loss of our son. and THEN she just tells me (2weeks later) that now me and her are doing a duewt. and im the 1 singing.. nice... for 1 im not a choir boy, and 2. id much rather all the attention be on her =P guess i'll just have to suck it up and continue to enjoy the crazyness that is her =)

  10. Well, I am overwhelmed. The beautiful truth of this story is amazing.
    The tears in my eyes represent Gods love for you through me. kt

  11. Still finding comfort through the storm and Gods beauty even in that is something to admire and I love you for that. Oh and Cade cracks me up as usual...Duet, how wonderful and I hope we get to hear it as well :)

  12. You are all so awesome and amazing. Thanks for the wonderful support and kindness. :)

    Cade . . . oh dear, sweet Cade. Now I will have to post a video LOL!

  13. Elisa - That was such a beautiful and heart aching post. You really do have a most wonderful gift in writing. I could feel your pain and anxiousness. You are such a strong women. God IS like the willow tree - Glad those branches reach a little to my house too. I love how he is always teaching us things...Love ya

  14. Your writing is simply beautiful and I am all weepy now. I am very glad both of your trees and your faith are alive and well.

  15. What an absolutely beautiful image. I'm so glad that God blessed you with it and you blessed the rest of us by sharing it. :)

  16. I'm so glad I waited to read both of these posts when they would have my full attention. That was beautiful. A stunning story, full of heart and emotion. You are truly a gift to all of us, my dear.

  17. I love your story of faith. We walk so alone at times, but only because we don't recognize the hand holding ours. What an amazing experience.

  18. This is so beautifully written, Elisa! I, too, am at a loss for words, since any comment I might have made seems superfluous to the profoundly moving experience you have described.

  19. Thanks for sharing. Great post as usual. Can't wait to meet you in person.

  20. What a lovely parallel, the willow tree to faith to Zeke to you...Very well done.