In November 2007, a month after my parents died, my husband, sister and I traveled to Tunisia to visit the school, ACST (American Cooperative School of Tunis), where they worked. We wanted to spend time where they last had, visit with their colleagues and gain some peace and understanding. It was also important to me to be the ones that cleared out their home.
It was a difficult trip to say the least, but necessary for our grieving process. We were met with much understanding and support and much of the time we were not only being consoled but were consoling.
In a very touching ceremony, the school planted two olive trees* in a common area on campus and dedicated one to each of my parents while we were in town.That year for Christmas my husband had an olive tree planted for me in our side yard.
It was almost an exact replica to the ones planted for my parents continents away. right down to the white stones. Luckily, however, it is a non olive producing tree, for that would just be a mess!
In three years it has almost doubled in size.
I love this tree and will always appreciate the kind gesture that my husband made in finding and having it planted at our home. It will forever remind me of our trip to Tunis, the two trees that grow and bloom there in memory of my parents and of course, my parents themselves.
Todd is working with our old gardener and the new residents to either move the tree to a farm until we buy our next house and can plant it there, or keep it with the old house until we are ready to transplant it.
*The olive tree is native to the Mediterranean and a cultural symbol of Tunisia.
Silvery green leaves are oblong in shape and in spring small white flowers bloom. With age, the trunk is typically gnarled and twisted.
Tunisia produces 500,000 tons of olives each year. Many of Tunisia’s olive trees are believed to be over 2,000 years old.
The olive tree is one of the plants most often mentioned in literature. In Homer’s “Odyssey”, Odysseus crawls beneath two olive tree branches that grow from a single stock. The Roman poet, Horace mentions it in reference to his own diet, which he describes as very simple: “As for me, olives, endives, and smooth mallows provide sustenance.”
Olive trees are symbols of abundance, glory and peace.