9:45am Monday 5th March 2018
A group of women are seen walking together to the arboretum area of Christchurch Park, Ipswich. They are laughing and chatting and looking for a tree. A tree that they have purchased and will on this day be dedicated to their children. Someone spots it! “There it is!” Yes, a beautiful Japanese Cherry Blossom tree. They gather round looking up at the tree with fragile buds almost ready to open, but not today.
Speeches are read. It is a cold morning and the women huddle together. They hear of a quote, ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.” They listen closely in hope.
There is a sense of joy and triumph like pink blossom bursting forth making a dash for the blue sky. But beneath the surface there is a streak, a shadow just visible – if you look for it. Here is a deep sorrow that lies beneath all the brilliance of colour. The pain that each one of them secretly understands.
Song sheets are handed out and a piece of music is played.
“I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you are
But I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious”
There is singing ‘This is BEAM’ in unison with laughter.
We each take our turn with a shovel, used by mayors and dignitaries from years past, now grasped by these fragile hands. It is a task that some are very hesitant to do. With encouragement and support the women help plant this tree to flourish and bloom and become a greater thing of beauty. Some women silently dedicate themselves to this same task, as they take the shovel and build up the earth to cover and protect the roots of new life.
Many of the women helped raise funds to purchase the tree. It stands as a sign and symbol for their children. Many say they will return and when they walk past the tree say a prayer for their child. Some ask if we can have a picnic under it when the weather finally improves. They know that this tree will stand as a constant reminder of their love for the children.
One lady comes up and says, “When my son comes to find me I will bring him here and show him this tree. It will show him I never, ever stopped loving him”.
So now, if you happen to be in Christchurch Park and see a woman sitting underneath a Japanese Cherry Blossom tree singing to herself you will understand. No one plants a tree without hope.