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Grief and Watching the Last Leaf Fall

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There is a tree that stands tall and proud in my backyard. It has one of the prettiest shapes and turns a glorious shade of red each fall. In the nine years we have lived in this house, it was as beautiful this past fall as any year I can recall. I remember going out on my deck at various times of day just trying to capture it in the perfect light and always commenting on its exquisite beauty. This morning as I stood at my kitchen sink washing the breakfast dishes, I gazed out at my favorite tree that now stands completely bare of any leaves and I was reminded of a story I read as a child called “The Last Leaf.”

In the story, there is a pneumonia epidemic and a young girl is taken ill and is confined to a bed with the view of a tree just outside her window. Each day as the tree loses more and more leaves, she becomes convinced that when the last leaf falls she will die. An artist, simply heartbroken by this idea, goes out one night and paints a leaf on the wall behind the tree so that the last leaf never falls. Realistic in appearance, the young girl truly believes that the last leaf never falls and she gets well! Only then does she discover that the artist himself took cold from his exposure that night that he spent hours painting her leaf and has perished.

I think in many ways I knew this past autumn would forever change my world. I think I knew that granny was ready to go and be with Jesus, but I just couldn’t let her go. However, in the end, it wasn’t my decision to make. My granny took her heavenly flight just like every gorgeous red leaf fell from my tree in the backyard, and now they’ve both moved on to a new season. When something is determined to leave or simply has to go, you can’t really stop it try as you might. You can only appreciate the beauty that was once there and treasure its memory.

Photo submitted by contributor.

Originally published: January 10, 2020
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