16.6.16

Andy's tree


  
Yesterday we made a pilgrimage to see Andy's tree. Brian-next-door kindly drove us over, as it is some distance away in the heart of the Shropshire hills. Set in ancient woodland, the South Shropshire Remembrance Park is the most peaceful and tranquil place - beautiful even in the rain.


It's been just over three years since Andy's ashes were laid to rest under a silver birch tree sapling. It has grown considerably since them, which considering how tall Andy was, is appropriate. The little glade where his tree is situated is up on a wooded hill. Joe and I made our way there while Brian waited in the car park, to give us some privacy.


 

I'd brought some things to tidy up with and the first thing I did was to give his stone a good scrubbing, and remove the moss which grows so quickly. On my hands and knees, in the muddy grass, in the rain. Because it is the only and last thing I can do for him. And it still doesn't feel like enough. I don't think it ever will.


We'd brought a bottle of his favourite beer.


Which I poured on his tree roots, with a little salutation to 'the big man'. 


It was Joe's first visit and although it was sad, we both found it less painful than anticipated. And will be coming back again, soon.

Then the heavens really opened up to a deluge. We headed back as quickly as possible, to the car, soaked to the skin.



Brian took us home via the 'scenic route'.  Little twisty Shropshire lanes, which, as we found, were flash flooded. This is why a 4x4 is useful in the countryside. 



With Brian's careful driving, we negotiated the small rivers that covered the lanes for long stretches.


Some readers may wonder how I could take photographs during such a difficult and personal time, and share it so publicly. Well, Andy was always part of this blog. Taking photos, writing about it, and recording it helps me to sort things out in my head and makes it all seem a little less weird and messed up. Just a little.


13 comments:

frayedattheedge said...

Oh Gretel, what a moving post - I had to dry my tears so that I could see to type.

Karren said...

He was such a part of your life, and ours too, who followed your blog through the years, that I think we all felt a loss with you. It's good that Joe understands and that you can honor him together now.

tut-tut said...

a lovely tribute: this post and the tree and stone.

mereth said...

I went through your archives and began regularly reading about a year before Andy took that walk, and the news of his death was terrible. I never thought of this blog as yours alone, it was Gretel and Andy's together. I think it was very brave of you to be so sharing, of that night and the sad journey afterwards. I'm so glad you have Joe now, and that you can share Andy's memory together, it must help even more with that loss. I cried looking at the inscription on his stone- it still doesn't seem possible that he did what he did, but there it is.

Frances said...

Dear Gretel,

I believe I can understand why you and Joe would want to share this post with folks who knew Andy via those many posts.

Having had the opportunity to share a forest walk, several meals and some church visits with you and Andy, I send you my heartfelt thanks.

Dear Joe, how happy I am that you and Gretel are together. xo

Mac n' Janet said...

I really like what is written on his stone, thank you for sharing it.

Lin said...

I understand why you post this...and I am glad you do. We loved Andy too and I'd like to pay my respects as well. Okay...so we have to do it vicariously..but you know....it's nice to "visit" his resting spot.

What amazing people surround and support you.

Kari from Meadowview Farm said...

((Hugs)) across the wide ocean to you....

rossichka said...

Dear Gretel, I think inner strength and love are needed to write such a post... We all know Andy more or less via your blog, because you shared here so many important moments from you life together. I believe he rests in peace! Warm hugs for you!x

Celia Hart said...

Thanks for sharing your pilgrimage to Andy's tree. The inscription is a perfect tribute. I felt a jolt of emotion remembering the shock of reading what happened 3 years ago and with all your blog readers felt for your loss of your dearest companion. It was kind of your friend to drive you and Joe to the wood.
Sending hugs xx

Soozcat said...

CM and I felt so blessed to meet Andy in person, if only just once, and to spend time with the two of you.

Thank you, Gretel, for sharing this; it was truly beautiful and I can imagine how emotionally fraught it must have been to offer it to the world.

Hugs to you, and to Joe and Brian.

Rowan said...

Andy is in a beautiful spot and I think that visiting and caring for the place where he rests is a very healing thing for you to do.

Granny Sue said...

What a touching post. I am honored to share this moment with you, and with your Joe. Life has as many twists and turns and floods as your little lanes, and so much beauty and joy, all mingled together. Hugs to you and Joe, Gretel.