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The Grandmother Tree

By Tia Richardson

She taught me that one day we’ll have to let go of our parents just as they have to let go of us. And letting go…what does that mean? …To fly free.

She taught me to honor age.

The body grows old but the spirit is ever willing, timeless and older than we can imagine.


She taught me to be reverent, and to have faith.

She taught me loyalty, kindness and grace.


She loved her family, church and God more than anything.

I carry her in my spirit. In the voices of the elders, the wise, I hear her speak. I feel her breath even as the wind blows across my cheeks. Even as the Native Americans called the spirit of the mountains “Grandmothers and Grandfathers”… I call upon her spirit to guide me steady as a rock, in my journey to God’s spirit.

She taught me courage, wisdom and insight.

The passing of my grandmother marks a new age for me. Instead of holding my hand, walking, sitting or talking side by side, she is gone to rest in the Great Spirit, and takes up her home with God & among the trees, the rocks, the earth, the dust

I now stand on her shoulders.…And on her Mother’s shoulders.

And on the shoulders of so many elders gone before me

And I stand firmly in the shade of my Mother’s tree

Planted by the fruit of my Grandmother’s tree

Not far from where it fell


And the wind blew branches and life carved itself into the deep, grooved sinuous skin of her trunk.

Other times life gifted the tree with Spring and children playing ring around the rosy at its base

Sometimes lightning struck   But still the tree grew

Always living within cycles

Always bearing fruit

Always fragrant with flowers each Spring

No matter how hard the winters it shook


Till at last Great Spirit came for her

To reclaim the creation so lovingly made

From dust many years ago

And in my spot, I looked out into the field where once my Grandmother’s tree stood.

There, in the distance, in the valley between two mountains the light of the setting sun no longer hid itself from my view behind my Grandmother’s leafy branches

But fell directly on me.

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