~ A Celebration of Sorts ~

English: Tree, Upper Farringdon This oak tree ...

English: Tree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This morning at 10 a.m. I went to the town park to plant a tree with some good friends. The tree was chosen for the way its leaves turn a vibrant red in the fall to match the vibrancy of the  friend that we were planting it for.

We lost our friend last spring. “We” is my Writers’ Group (we obviously put our creativity into our work and not our name). Our friend was a member of our group and she was bipolar. She did not hide it; in fact she almost celebrated it–not in a “party hardy” fashion but as an advocate for those who suffered this puzzling disease with her. She fought it with everything she had, and her family and friends helped her with the fight.

When she was taking the right “cocktail” of drugs, she was balanced, nay normal. Normal—what a word, but I mean normal in that she could handle everyday life. She could get up and function, and most importantly be creative and make other people happy. And she revelled in making other people happy. That is what made her happy.

She called us dudes and dudettes. She told us when we read something at Writers’ Group not to apologize for what we were about to read aloud in the group, and if we did apologize (as writers are wont to do), she commanded us

English: an exercise of chest

push-ups (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

to get down and do push-ups for not minding her wise advice.

The tree was planted on a slope of land at the park, facing the lake. It was carefully chosen to be protected and out of harm’s way.  Professional landscapers did the actual planting, and a friend who works at the park brought over the first pails of water to nourish it.

We planted a tree today in honour of our friend, and this is the poem I wrote for her:

You Are In Our Hearts

We planted a tree today:

In honour of, or in memory of,

Or more appropriately

In celebration of a friend.

Our friend was vibrant

When she was not sad

She was jubilant

Except when she wasn’t.

She lived life to its fullest

When she could

She was braver than brave

Except when she was scared.

We planted a tree today:

In celebration of a life

Lived fully, abundantly, and effusively

Except when she couldn’t.

Goodbye friend

But, it is not farewell

You really do live in our hearts

And speak to our creative souls.

Her accidental death was a shock to our small town. She seemed to have a million friends. I am lucky to have been counted among them. We love you Colene.

Published in: on October 23, 2012 at 8:51 pm  Comments (58)  
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58 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. That’s a beautiful gesture and a lovely poem. You are a good friend.

    • We miss her–and our hearts still ache. Thank you for the compliment 🙂

      • Time heals but that is still a fresh loss. xo

      • thank you for your understanding–it was made fresher and more “in your face” today because we planted the tree in her honour

      • Loss creeps up and finds you when you least expect. I’m glad you have the tree to go visit. It’s nice to have a place.

      • Yes it is – thanks Maggie

  2. What a lovely way to remember Coleen. Trees are said to have souls, and it’s wonderful to think that hers can live on in this tribute to her. Your poem was lovely too – the contrast reflected her bipolar nature, the ups and the downs. I think Coleen would approve of how you have chosen to celebrate her life.

    • thank you so much–I do hope so–she was so creative herself–it was such a loss to all of us
      I like that trees have souls

  3. What a beautiful tribute to your friend. Loss is never easy to take, but what you have done with the planting of the tree and the poem will certainly help to begin the healing process. I’m sending you lots of hugs!

    • Thank you, and I will gladly receive every one of them! You are right–it does help the healing process–though it was kind of opened up again today–but we need to remember the people important to us.

  4. Your poem shows that you knew your friend well – all sides of her.

    The colourful tree planted in her memory is a great gesture.

    • thanks Heidi–we all have sides don’t we? you are right about the tree–I think she would like it

  5. So beautifully true to the spirit of Colene – and we mustn’t forget the acorns for the squirrels that the tree will bear – and we will be glad at their antics and see Colene watching with delight as they nest in her tree.

    • a wonderful addition to her tribute–so true–sorry I forgot about this very important part of her personality

  6. What a beautiful poem and the vibrant red leaf colour will represent your friend at her best. Well done writing a difficult subject at a challenging time. ( My son was diagnosed as bipolar last year.)

    • it is a challenging disease as I am sure you are aware–but sometimes she had seemed to have it under control–I wish you that

  7. I think that planting something is a healing thing to do. I did it for my brother and though it didn’t take any pain away, it did and does soothe me when I see it.

    • I am glad–so sorry you lost your brother–such a tough thing to deal with (hugs)

  8. How sad. The tree seems like a perfect tribute for your friend.

  9. What a wonderful poem… I think it describes many of us … nice tribute for a friend.

  10. I love the poem. I’m sorry that you lost a beautiful friend. I’m sending well wishes to you, LouAnn.

    • thanks so much — it is a fact of life that we lose good friends and family–just not one I like

  11. Hi Louann. So sorry about your dear friend. I think that the tree planting is perfect, and the poem is beautiful.

    • thank you – the tree was not my idea, but I love it–at least the poem was my tribute

  12. Le Sigh.. this whole post touched me on behalf of your friend..Beautiful sentiments!!

  13. Coleen sounds like good people. I bet she’s looking at that tree and smiling. I’m sorry for you and your Writers’ Group for your loss, LouAnn.

    • thanks so much for your heartfelt wishes–I will tell them–they were introduced to you last week at our meeting when I used some of your comments re blogging when I did my mini-presentation

  14. This is beautiful and so sad.

    • It is sad, but I like to think she is happy about the effort we took to plant a tree (oak) that will attract her magic animal–the squirrel

  15. I read in a book somewhere that those who pass away are never really gone until you forget them. As you said, your friend lives on in you and everyone she touched and so it’s not really a farewell. A beautiful gesture indeed.

  16. I’m sorry for your loss…sending lots of hugs your way. What a beautiful poem, and tribute to her.

  17. Really lovely poem Lou. Feels good to remember loved ones we’ve lost. Hope it’s ok if I copy that poem to my collection.

  18. A beautiful tribute to your friend. May Coleen rest in peace.

  19. That is beautiful my friend I cannot think of a better honour for your good friend 🙂


  20. What lovely tributes. It’s so hard to lose a friend.

  21. That is a wonderful tribute, the tree will provide a wonderful place to remember. Sorry to hear about your loss. Hugs.

  22. What a lovely way to remember someone, how thoughtful!!

  23. Lou Ann, I am so sorry for your loss. This post and poem are such a beautiful tribute to Coleen and to you and your friends’ love for her. I bet that tree will grow and soar, as she did in her physical life when she was able to do so. Beautiful and much love to you today. xxoo

    • thanks so much Brigitte – it did not hit me until I got home how much she is missed

  24. Beautiful poem. Sending love and hugs your way.

  25. A tree is such a wonderful way to remember someone. I loved your poem and I think your friend would too.

  26. Sad but beautiful post and tribute! Coleen sounds wonderful. I have several friends who have bipolar and I am so glad we can all talk openly about it these days instead of hiding people away in institutions. I love it that she made you do push-ups; we used to have to put 20cents in a jar but push-ups would be a much better deterent!

    • not that any of us actually did the push-ups- I am afraid if I got into position I would never get up again–you know that old:I’ve fallen and I can’t get up–I understand it more now!

  27. It’s a loving tribute to a dear friend…Diane

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