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My husband and I were slightly choked up having a front yard funeral with our friends. We all stood around while my husband and a friend, and our neighbor, Daphne, a serious gardener just like Gretchen, planted the paperbark maple tree. Watching Daphne reminded me strongly of how Gretchen confidently moved the earth with her hands. We said a few words of appreciation for Gretchen. I am most appreciative of the fact that she changed who she was and came into my life and became a very positive force. She was fun and generous and a great presence in our lives. We miss her. My husband, of course, wrote haiku.

Snow drops, spyria,

crimson pigmy barberry.

All miss Aunt Gretchen.

This next one he explained is a reference to our summer trip to Ohio with Gretchen.

One more Andrew Wolf.

One more, hot sunny graveyard.

Where’s the swimming pool?

The kids then each mentioned their most favorite things about her including her great interest in all the specifics of our lives, her encouragement and her sense of fun.

One friend had bird calls and classical music playing as we planted. Another brought 5 pounds of horse manure and fall-blooming crocus to contribute. After I felt we’d dedicated the tree well we all went to the back yard for some of Gretchen’s favorite foods: the original oven-baked chex mix called ‘Nuts and Bolts’, Paffenbarger Punch, sparkling cider, chocolate fudge, and of course, dirt cake complete with fresh flowers stuffed into the ‘dirt’. Gretchen would have liked it. I miss her and wish she hadn’t left so fast.
Miss you Gretchen.