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(Via Wikipedia)

(Via Wikipedia)

Last week, my family was interviewed for a Santa Cruz Sentinel feature article on hospice’s wall of remembrance for cancer victims and those who lost their lives to terminal illnesses. Because my dad loved the redwoods so much, my mom purchased one in his name — Paul’s tree — and he also has his own plaque on it:

photo (11)

The piece is really well-written and touching, particularly when it reveals that “[o]ne of the first memorial plaques installed after the wall was erected was one in honor of Paul Donovan,” but my mom has a more in depth post about our family history over at her blog:

When my late husband, Paul, and I decided to move [to Santa Cruz] from Southern California more than 15 years ago, one of the main reasons we chose to live in Santa Cruz County was because of its natural beauty. We were mesmerized by the redwoods, drawn to them like a magnet. It was worth the drive over Highway 17 to work because at least we got to stare at the beautiful trees along the way. We never failed to appreciate their majestic beauty when we drove by them or walked through Henry Cowell Park. We treasured the precious train rides through the redwoods that gave us an even closer look from a new perspective.

I recently learned that I could “memorialize” Paul with a plaque on one of the ten redwood trees in the grove outside the hospice office in Scotts Valley. It’s a lovely setting, and as I looked at the trees, one of them “called” to me. It was like Paul was saying, “Linda, remember how much I love the redwoods?”

The redwoods meant so much to him and having a tree in his honor close to an organization that gave him unsurpassed comfort and care when he needed it the most, would be just what he would have wanted. I will visit Paul’s tree often and remember the love that he brought into the lives of so many people. There are nine other trees right by his, just waiting for people to come along and put their loved ones names on the tree. Redwood trees live for thousands of years and I think that choosing one is a great way to recognize your loved one and help Hospice of Santa Cruz County continue to provide such exceptional services to the community.

I’ll definitely be visiting “Paul’s tree” before I move to LA in a few weeks:

Linda Donovan spends a peaceful moment in the memorial redwood grove at Hospice of Santa Cruz County near a marker dedicated to Donovan's husband Paul, who was a hospice client before he died. (Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel)

Linda Donovan spends a peaceful moment in the memorial redwood grove at Hospice of Santa Cruz County near a marker dedicated to Donovan’s husband Paul, who was a hospice client before he died. (Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel)

How do you memorialize lost loved ones?

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