The electrician came this morning; a man I’ve known for years.Well enough to be happy to see him; not well enough to know if he has a wife, kids, though I know he has a dog. He installed a new light fixture in the walkout basement workshop Chris built and we had enclosed properly just a few months ago.

“This is new,” he said.

“Our son built the frame and we had a roof put on recently.”

“Oh, so he can work on ATVs and stuff out here?”

“Yeah,” I said. He died last June, I didn’t say. There was no reason to. He knows me well enough to feel that instant moment of sorrow, to go home and tell his wife or dog how bad he felt, but not well enough for that information to be relevant to his world.


We planted trees for our kids in the old house on Country Farm Lane, trees grown too big in the ten years we were there to take with us when we left. Here along the river, we planted new trees. Apple trees for Scott and Chris, a Kwanzan cherry for Grace, and a Magnolia for Jamie.

In the Halloween blizzard of 2011, Gracie’s tree was damaged by branches weighed down with snow on leaves. Christofer’s toppled. Scott’s tree, that had never really thrived, held on with little damage. Jamie’s, despite all the heavy snow on leaves, held strong, the branches popping back to their places as the snow melted.

We trimmed Grace’s tree, and it looked pretty sad for a while, but even the split in the trunk healed. It flowers abundantly despite the scars spied among the foliage.

Scott’s tree continues to hang on, wiry branches stretching in every direction, but it always flowers, always bears a little fruit.

Jamie’s tree grows ever-outward. It blooms randomly throughout the year. April. July. September, I’ve even seen those fuchsia and white blooms–two, five–in January.

Christofer’s tree, we braced as upright as we could get it. The roots replanted themselves, but it never quite got back up again. It blooms profusely, and bears more apples than we can use, but it grows sideways out of the hill, reaching down instead of up.

Had I written all that into a novel, these melodramatic metaphors, it would have seemed heavy-handed. Cliche, perhaps. Even saccharine-sweet. And yet, there you have it. I couldn’t ignore the real-life symmetry, children and trees, if I wanted to.

I’ve been thinking about it ever since–ergo, this entry. Maybe it’ll stop floating through my mind now.


Filed under Family, Uncategorized

10 responses to “Snapshots

  1. dianamunozstewart

    Goosebumps. Just read this by Rilke, “The great secret of death, and perhaps its deepest connection with us, is this: that, in taking from us a being we have loved and venerated, death does not wound us without, at the same time, liftings us toward a more perfect understanding of this being and ourselves.” (THE SECRET OF DEATH by Rainer Maria Rilke)


  2. MaryAnn Forbes

    What a lovely tribute to your children.🌿


  3. I am, as always, awed by the depth of your thoughts and the connections with your children. This is such a beautiful tribute to your children and the connection to them that you have. The symbolism of those trees reaches its roots deep into my heart! I pray you will find an inner peace that holds you in a loving embrace and fills your spirit with the love you have given to your children, and that you will continue to give them and their children. You are a beautiful soul. I am lucky to have found you!


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      Bev, truly, I’m the lucky one. You’re an amazing spirit who shines so bright, I’m going to need sunglasses if we ever meet in person. Thank you.


  4. I’m just sitting her all teary, amazed at the power of your words. Hugs to you, my friend.


  5. I love this. All of it. *big hugs*


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