The Dart: Tree helps Natchez woman remember husband’s life
Published 12:25 am Monday, October 20, 2014
NATCHEZ — Shirley Holmes believes that when someone dies, they never truly leave their loved ones.
As The Dart landed on Hicktober Street in Natchez Thursday, Holmes was tending to a Crape Myrtle tree in her front yard thinking of her late husband Willie.
As she picked the weeds growing beside the tree’s trunk she gently spoke.
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“Sure got this tree looking good, Willie,” she said.
Five years ago, the tree was just a stump with little branches protruding from it. Holmes and Willie, who were married 12 years, contemplated removing it from their yard on several occasions, but never got around to getting rid of the stump.
It was not long after Willie died on Oct. 14, 2009, of a heart attack that the tree started to grow.
“I just knew it was Willie,” she said.
Holmes was having a difficult time getting back on track with her life after Willie died. To this day, the thought of Willie being gone is a painful one for her to think about.
“I have only visited his grave once since he died,” she said.
“The gravestone only brings back memories of Willie’s death, I don’t believe any of him is even there.”
Instead, Holmes prefers to believe that Willie resides in the tree, that he makes it grow and blossom during spring.
“The tree holds so much more importance to me than his gravesite,” she said. “In the tree, I am reminded of Willie’s life and the wonderful memories we shared.”
“In the tree, Willie lives.”