Today I woke up to horribly loud noises outside. They were noises I was expecting to eventually hear…but didn’t want to.

I live in an older neighbourhood with the most beautiful, mature trees. Now that it’s fall, the leaves are bright orange, yellow and red, and one of my most favourite things to do is to sit on my bed, blog, drink coffee, and look out of my window to see (and listen to) the most most spectacular tree in my front yard.

The noise that woke me up today meant that that spectacular tree would soon be gone.

Today was the day that a wood chipper and chainsaws destroyed my gorgeous view. Today my 40+ year old Ash tree was cut down. All day I dreaded looking out the window to not see what I loved so much. Sadly the beautiful tree was diseased and my city had mandated the removal of them…all! Three were cut down on the small section of my road alone.

This is now my view:

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So why am I sharing this story? Why am I boo-hooing about losing a tree, when I am lucky to have a lawn for the trees to go on on in the first place? I’m also lucky that the sick tree didn’t come down in a storm and land on my roof, or car, or family member. I’m sharing it to remind myself (and anyone who chooses to read this) about the importance of somehow finding a healthy perspective after a loss. – Easier said than done I know.

My first reaction after looking out my window when the horrendous noises left and allowed me to pull my earplugs out was that, “I’m moving! That’s it! I’m calling my real estate agent brother (plug for Ross Harris- Remax in Barrie Ontario), and moving somewhere else! Get me the FOR SALE sign! I’m out!” At that moment when I saw my sad, broken tree, I had forgotten how to have a healthy perspective, or gratitude for that matter, and was ready to start packing TODAY!

Although I still don’t want to look outside, I have simmered down, kept the packing tape in my garage, and found a meaning to this experience. I’ve started to change my perspective, and now see how the process of this tree being cut down greatly resembles my own journey with coming to terms with my PTSD and not being a practicing paramedic anymore. It can also resemble the journey through any loss.

The tree was strong on the outside, capable of providing many good things to the people who came around it. Shade, oxygen, beautiful scenery…a place for Walter to pee. All great things! But over time it got sick…on the inside. I did notice that there were a lot of dead branches underneath it when I would mow the lawn, but I would simply move them and carry on. I never for a minute thought that this enormous tree could actually be very sick. Years went by and the tree seemed to still be ok…but no one knew how much it was actually struggling. Then one day, the tree doctors came by and let me know that this tree was so sick that it actually had to be taken down.

I couldn’t believe it. How could that be? It had been such a good tree for so long!

So from then on I enjoyed the tree every day knowing that it wouldn’t be there for much longer. It’s usefulness was now questionable, and I could somehow relate to how this experienced tree must have felt if it had feelings, learning that it wasn’t able to do the thing it loved the most anymore…it couldn’t be a tree.

Time went by and I hoped that the tree doctors had forgotten about my sick tree. I hoped that all of it’s beauty and experience had fooled them into believing it was ok again. I also hoped that the tree itself had forgotten it was sick, or that there was some kind of miracle that fixed the inside of it and made it strong and capable again. But alas, as the tree kept trying to be what it wasn’t anymore, it got sicker and sicker. At some point the tree and I both needed to accept that big changes were inevitable…and that they weren’t going to be easy.

During the tree’s removal, I knew that its transformation was going to get ugly. Branches that use to be there would be gone and would leave an empty space that would take some time to be filled. It would hurt hearing the wood chipper take my tree away; but it had to be done.

Next spring a new tree will be planted. One that will grow into a very different tree. In the meantime I will miss seeing my old tree’s beauty, and it will take some time for the new tree to feel as capable and important as the old tree was…but it will happen. Change happens, and that’s ok.

I wonder what the new tree will look like? I wonder how well it will hold up a swing, or provide shade on a sunny day? On a positive note, I won’t have to rake up the thousands of leaves the old tree was about to let go of. And now that it’s gone I get to use the time it would have taken to rake the leaves, to imagine how great the new one will be. I bet it will be beautiful. <3