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Thursday, October 18, 2012


In loving memory of my brother, Tony Orlando
(October 26, 1968-October 19th, 2007)


The first time I saw the tree, it was a scrawny sapling. I could
clench my entire hand around the skinny trunk. Only the tiniest
of green leaves budded from branches that were little more than
sticks. Wood planks supported the base of the tree, keeping it
upright during summer storms. It seemed this spindly tree had no
hope of survival.

My brother's ashes are buried in the cemetery across town. The
rich, green grass is too perfect. The tall, lush trees are too
uniform. It seems so artificial. There is no hint of life here. I
feel only the icy chill of death. Even the foliage cannot cover
what this place is for. The endless rows of congruent gravestones
disclose the real story. I am looking for my brother's spirit,
but I find nothing in this cold, dreary place.

Years later, I return to the park to visit the tree we planted in
his memory. To my amazement, the scrawny sapling has flourished
into a beautiful dogwood tree. The low branches grow out and
slightly upward, as if reaching for a hug. Burgeoning oval leaves
blanket the tree in hues of green. Creamy white flowers blossom
all about. The sweet, floral scent is abundant on the gentle
Spring breeze. I feel warmth, as something touches my heart.
There is life within this tree. At last, I have found my brother
once more.

Angela C. Orlando
Revised April, 2012

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