Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Zeda Tree

Have I written about the Zeda Tree before? Honestly, I can't keep track anymore.

Sometime after Dad died, I received a small, nondescript cardboard box containing half of Dad's ashes (the other half went his wife, Candyce). For a long time, I didn't know what to do with this box. It sat in my closet and from time to time I would forget what was in it and get a terrible surprise when I opened it up again.

Anna didn't sleep very well as a baby and I spent countless hours sitting with her on the couch in the living room, watching the neighborhood wake up through the big picture window. One day as I was looking out, I noticed David in the yard digging a hole in which to plant a new Dogwood tree. Somehow I knew this was exactly where I needed Dad to be — close by; somewhere where I could glance out my window and be reminded of him daily.

Over time, we've added some details: a stepping stone with Dad's name, fairy houses, dream catchers. The tree has thrived, growing almost as tall as the house in the past few years. Just this morning I watched as a dozen tiny birds flitted in and out of it before moving on to their next adventure.

We call that tree the Zeda Tree, and it very much a part of our daily life. Today as I looked out my window wondering what to share about Dad on what would be his 73rd birthday, I saw the Zeda Tree and I knew.

I love you, Dad. Thank you for always letting me know what story to tell when I don't think I've got any words left.

Steven Millman Rappaport
December 5, 1942 – July 4, 2007

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