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A Time to Remember: Part Two

As long as I live, I will think of Rob Wurzer every November. Rob, our friend and business partner, passed away on November 4, 2016. We held his public memorial on what would have been his 58th birthday. He was born on November 11, 1958.

The summer of 2016 will, forever, be Rob’s summer. As his health declined, my husband, who was Rob’s executor, spent many hours at the hospital discussing the business, the estate, and more personal concerns. I spent time with his wife talking about life, death, and remembering. Somehow, during this time, I heard about a magical, memorial forest, just west of Saskatoon. This forest, still in its infancy, is the vision of Mia Hollinger. When we suggested to Rob that his memorial place be in a forest, he immediately liked the idea. Rob also loved the idea that Treeternity was a new business endeavour, like TVTruck, the company we shared with Rob. He was able to vividly imagine the forest, as it might look in the future.

Treeternity is a place to remember people, pets, accomplishments, and occasions. You can even plant a family tree, adding additional plaques, as the family expands. People love to visit green spaces, and each tree in the memorial park is surrounded by 144 square feet of protected land.  

You can visit the Treeternity website to watch a video illustrating how this memorial forest might look in its maturity. The site also provides a way to reach Mia Hollinger, owner and developer of the memorial forest. Mia’s blog, also on her website, covers sensitive issues and offers helpful suggestions on many topics.

While in the process of planning Rob’s memorial tribute, I called Mia for more information about Treeternity. Mia made it possible for Rob’s friends and family to make a donation to Rob’s memorial tree, in lieu of flowers. She provided a site map, and we were able to select a plot with meaningful coordinates. We decided Rob’s oak tree would be planted in plot 11 of row 58, reflecting his birth date of 11,11,1958. Of course, we had to wait until spring to actually plant his tree.  

Rob’s tree was about five feet tall, when we planted it in June of 2017, and Burr Oaks grow about a foot a year. I plan to have a photo taken beside Rob’s tree each year, since it was approximately my height when we planted it. With luck, it will be as tall as my husband, Gord, by the summer of 2018. We personalized a 9” by 5” plaque with a favourite quote.

Mia was available to help us with every question and decision. I wondered what might happen if something unforeseen occurred to the business. Mia assured me that Treeternity has an agreement with the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation to donate the land as wildlife conservation, so memorial trees will be enjoyed by future generations.

On the day of the planting, we kept the group small, knowing we had already celebrated with a public ceremony. Initially, Rob’s wife held the tree as each of us placed some dirt around the roots. She sprinkled some of Rob’s ashes there, too. We talked and took photos, and, as we walked away, we were given a certified keepsake certificate.

I still remember Rob laughing at the idea of being a tree, symbolically, of course. I love the idea of sitting in the gazebo at Treeternity, some summer in the future, talking to my husband about our time with Rob and remembering the summer of 2016. It’s a quiet, beautiful, young park, and I intend to watch it grow old.

My mother-in-law, at 97, loves the poem Trees. I imagine you have guessed what I am thinking. Since Treeternity is a place to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and other milestones, I think we could give her a tree for her 98th birthday. After all, Treeternity is a happy place.

 

Trees

By Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see

A poem as lovely as a tree

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast

A tree that looks at God all day

And lifts her leafy arms to pray

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair

Upon whose bosom snow has lain

Who intimately lives with rain

Poems are made by fools like me  

But only God can make a tree

To read A TIme to Remember: Part One just click on the highlighted title.  

 

 

 

Comments (6)

  • ralph johnstone November 8, 2017 at 07:20 am

    What a touching tribute to Rob.
    Well done.

  • Mia Hollinger November 6, 2017 at 09:33 pm

    I am able to sit here and read this for the second time today just after putting my kids to bed and you have me in tears! Thank you. You write so beautifully and captured our business so perfectly. I especially loved the bit about Rob liking that we are a new business endeavour. 💙

  • Mandy Ross November 6, 2017 at 02:06 pm

    This is such a beautiful and inspiring piece Maureen. So much compassion and love. And who wouldn’t love to be remembered in such a peaceful place. Hugs for all of you in this time of remembering your dear loved one.

  • The Boy November 6, 2017 at 01:59 pm

    Miss my buddy Rob. He's directing, filming, and editing some big, beautiful sunset in the sky!

  • Bev Gardner November 6, 2017 at 01:50 pm

    A lovely tribute Maureen.
    Treeternity is a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing.

  • Layne Strelic November 6, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    This is such a touching story and so heart warming. My sister, Gloria died, also, on November 4, 1972. We planted a pine tree in her honor in our front yard to keep her living in our minds. I would have loved to know someone was taking care of it and the tree not forgotten like ours. We sold the house and the tree went with it, now at the mercy of strangers.
    Keep the stories coming, I so look forward to them!
    Layne

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