Nine years ago my family & the City of Orem planted this tree in memory of my brother, Grant Marcus Shields, who drowned in the canal very close to where it stands. I continue to be amazed at this tree. It started out so small and we didn't know if it was going to be able to endure the winters but here she is and she is HUGE! Not only did she endure but she stands as a testimony of hope for me and my family.
After my brother's death it became very difficult to drive down Center Street (this tree is just before River Woods-if you know the area) every day and have to see the canal. So when we planted Grant's tree it became a symbol of hope for me. Instead of always seeing the canal I saw his tree. Through the years this tree has changed my life!
If given the choice to visit my brother's grave or sit in the shade of his tree--I choose this tree. Though he has a beautiful grave and it is next my grandpa--it is a symbol of his death. This tree reminds me of his life and the resurrection.
So today I bought some clippers and some flowers and got to work. I cut away all the weeds, turned the bark over, and planted the flowers. Then I sat in the shade of Grant's tree and ate lunch. I thought about my brother, my family, the many blessings I have, and of course one of the biggest lessons my brother's death taught me. Grant's sudden death on Pioneer Day 9 years ago taught me that you never know when someone might leave your life. It is always good to say what you feel, forgive, and let the people around you know you love them.
Here is the little park and walkways that were made in memory of my brother as an Eagle Scout project soon after his death.
It is very peaceful and the antithesis of the churning waters of the canal above.
You can't read the plaque but it reads about my brother and how this little space is dedicated to him. I can't help wonder sometimes what he would be doing with his life today.
I miss ya little brother and I can't wait to see you again!