We live in a wonderful little neighborhood in the center of our town. Families vary from couples just starting out with very young children to retirees who built the houses they still live in today. We have met almost all the people immediately around us, though we have only gotten close to a couple sets of neighbors. However, when the word got out about Elli’s death, apparently quite a number of people were touched by her story.

They went in together to buy us a tree to plant in memory of Elli, and also purchased a stone with her name, birth date, and death date. They planted the tree on Sunday afternoon, and placed the stone yesterday. I will walk past it every day on the way to the bus stop with Big Boy. It’s really nice to see her name out there.

The kids had a great time “helping” with both the tree planting and the stone placement. We’ve had unseasonably warm weather the past couple of weeks, so we’ve been outside taking advantage of it while we can.

And as you can see, Little Boy has a definite boyish affection for dirt and mulch. Before the neighbors came over with the stone, we had been cleaning out the vegetable garden. He was armpit-deep in the soft garden soil, and even pressed his snot-coated face into it!

I’m half-tempted to take the stone to the cemetery until her actual grave stone goes in. But then again, it’s really nice to have and see here at the house. Close as the cemetery is, winter is approaching and I know I won’t be able to go as often with such small kids.

What is especially comforting about having a tree, a rose bush (we were given a knock-out rose in her memory as well, which is planted near the tree), and a stone, is that these are ongoing reminders of her life. Even after all her equipment is gone, we’ll have this place with her name on it. It makes visible the invisible reality that a huge part of us was here, but now is gone.