Mom’s Tree

On my first morning to wake up at Kansas City Hospice House, Mom’s night was quiet, but I just wasn’t sleepy. As I gaze out the window into a panoramic view of woods, I see a very regal old Hickory tree. She stands tall and stout, supporting many mature branches. A burgundy vine clothes her trunk. Many birds roost in her branches. Looking closer, I can see decay, sections of missing bark and broken branches. The tree is dead.

What a contrast among all the life around her. How does she continue to stand? Why has a strong wind not toppled her? She still has roots. That has to be the answer. She has not let go of her foundation that keeps her upright.

There is an amazing tranquility in her current state, and one can only imagine her youthful beauty. Yet, there is a serene beauty now. Will a wind come someday and lay her down? I think so. All in good time. Will the landscape change when she is gone?

Yes, it will change dramatically. But her decaying wood will nourish the soil and all the strong trees around her will gather more light. One day, they will take her place and flourish. They will grow straight and tall. They will provide for new generations of birds and animals. But the memory of that stately tree will never be forgotten.

One day, perhaps someone will gaze out this very window and another story will be told. For now, the sun is rising and her branches cast a beautiful shadow. In it there is no evidence of decay or breakage, only her unique silhouette can I see.

A few days later, my sisters and I walk the dewy path for one last visit. Mom’s tree still stands majestic, but now the branches seem frail as they frame the full moon glowing in the heavens. A buck and his doe quietly graze in their green pasture. Our praise and thanksgiving is accentuated by an owl’s night cry. On the grass near the feet of Mom’s tree, we lovingly scatter rose petals. Finally, we tearfully join hands and walk away. Yes, our world did change dramatically.

May the sharing of this story bring you comfort as we express our mother’s love, the blessings of her life and passing from this world into eternity.

Adapted from a story by Bonnie Luther Hayes

In memory of Doris Ann Luther, April 10th, 1919 – September 28th, 2012

This tree stands outside the West courtyard at Kansas City Hospice House™ and inspired this story, a metaphor for the circle of life.

Our Programs

There's a long list of hospices in Kansas City, but there's only one Kansas City Hospice. Our programs provide comprehensive expert care for all ages at all stages of serious illness.

Hospice

When the focus shifts to comfort instead of treatment, care comes to your home or nursing facility with a plan tailored to your needs, including emotional and spiritual support for the whole family.

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Hospice

Palliative Home Health

When complex needs benefit from a team approach, supportive home care brings the care you need, with 24/7 nurse support for pain, stress and symptoms due to serious illness.

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Palliative Home Health

Advanced Illness Support

Beginning as early as diagnosis and at any stage of serious illness, our nurse practitioners make home visits as needed to help coordinate your care and provide expert pain and symptom management.

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Advanced Illness Support
Hospice House

Hospice House

When symptoms cannot be easily managed at home, two hospice houses provide 24/7 expert care in comfortable home-line settings where family members can be relieved of caregiving duties to focus on loved ones.

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Carousel

Carousel provides palliative and hospice care for perinatal and for babies through young adults with a dedicated team of pediatric nurses, social workers, chaplains and other specialists.

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Carousel
Solace House

Solace House

Our center for grief and healing supports individuals and families who have been impacted by the death of a loved one, whether anticipated, or sudden and unexpected. We provide opportunities to share, listen, learn and heal with peer group support from age 3 through adult.

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