Nancy MacKerrow has now planted 120 trees throughout the world (but most of them in Spokane) in honor of her daughter, Susie, killed when hit by a bus in St. Louis in 2002.
On the Susie Forest website, MacKerrow explains the project. She sometimes finds people in the community she wishes to personally honor through a tree donation. She was taken with Carol Speltz, a woman I wrote about in December, who has Alzheimer's disease and is very public about it, along with her husband Karl Speltz.
Both were well-known educators and both are now educating friends, neighbors and strangers about the disease.
The tree was planted near Hutton School in a triangle of green known as Olmsted Park, though it's truly a greenspace rather than a park.
Nancy showed those gathered (about 10 of us) several photos of Susie biking, climbing, smiling. She showed maps of where the trees stand in Susie Forest. She handed out strips of paper to write messages on and place on the bare limbs of the new tree.
Carol and Nancy hugged several times throughout the gathering, tears gathering in their eyes, no words need be spoken.
In loss of all kinds, there is beauty and grace and understanding beyond words. I felt honored to be there.
(In the photo, from the left, Carl Speltz, Nancy MacKerrow and Carol Speltz)