Tree of Love recalls lost children |

Tree of Love recalls lost children

by Linda Hiller

During the holidays, trees are symbolic of so many things.

Gardnerville resident Judy Williams, with a little help from her friends, has decided to create a Tree of Love to help parents of deceased children find a public outlet to remember their children while giving support to others who want to do the same.

“A few years back, I read a story of a mother who had placed an angel on a tree by her child’s grave,” Williams said. “When she returned to visit, the angel was gone. She was upset that anyone would steal from a gravesite, and more so that it was something special to her in memory of her child. She was angry as she rushed back to town to buy another angel, and then the thought occurred to her that maybe the thief needed the angel. She proceeded to buy many angels, placed them on the tree, and offered them to any who found comfort in their taking.”

Williams said the story inspired her to do the same on a small tree at the grave of her own daughter Kelly. Kelly died at the age of 11 in 1977. Williams’ daughter Miki Trujillo, who is a teacher at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School, suggested that the angels be placed on a more obvious tree, and from there grew the idea to include others in the project.

n A group is formed. Other area parents of deceased children have joined Williams, including Linda Bratton, the mother of Sheila Jo Harris; Pam Smith, the mother of Jenny; Shirley Rhoades, the mother of Bryan; Nora Grant, the mother of Jacob; Carrie Weaver, the mother of Shane; and Gary Williams and Miki Trujillo, the father and sister of Kelly Williams.

“Filmore, ‘Mac’ McCann has generously donated his time and talent to make signs for the trees in memory of his wife, Martha, who died four months ago,” Williams said.

On the signs, a poem describes the purpose of the Tree of Love:

These angels on this tree are here

To help you wipe away a tear

To ease the pain you feel inside

Because someone you love has died

Take an angel

And if you choose

Replace one to impart

The gift of love you’ve found today

To bless another’s heart

n How to join in. This year, the group plans to include angels on a specific tree at both the Eastside Cemetery and Genoa Cemetery. The project is open to anyone who wants to join in, Williams said.

“We are meeting 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, at the entrance to the Eastside Cemetery, and then will proceed to the Genoa Cemetery,” she said. “Everyone is welcome.”

Williams suggests that participants bring a weatherproof angel (or a few) to place on the trees.

“We will have a way to secure them, and yet make them available for others to take, as suggested in the poem,” she said. “This may be a difficult time for some, but also a way to be able to open our hearts to give comfort and peace to others we may not even know.”

The Eastside Memorial Park cemetery is located at 1600 Buckeye Road, Minden and the Genoa Cemetery is located on the west side of Foothill Road at the north end of Genoa.

For more information on Sunday’s Tree of Love gathering, call Williams at 265-2414.

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