ME, MEGAN, “THE GIVING TREE”
– Beth Ann Abbott Strittmatter
I was a tree
deeply rooted in the rich soil.
My branches were many
and they grew outwardly,
reaching from the center of my universe to embrace family
for they were what mattered the most in my life.
I learned early
as a young sapling
that the greatest lessons in life came from the people closest to me
and everyone had something to offer;
some kind of passion, lesson, or energy
that I could combine with my own.
So I watched and absorbed.
Learning from everyone,
taking in all that people offered to me
and then offering it back in the ways in which I knew how.
From Mom I learned about the beauty of art.
From Dad I learned to define religion and find it’s place in my life.
My big brother Jimmy taught me about the appreciation of fitness and sport.
From my sister Katie, I learned how to truly listen; with my ears…
and my heart.
Mo, my sister, my soulmate, showed me the beauty of friendship.
And my younger sister Elizabeth taught me the responsibility of being a role
model, and I learned to do so without taking myself too seriously.
For all of these gifts I was grateful;
a part of each member of my family was a part of me.
I thrived, growing and growing into a stronger tree.
Each passing season brought out something new.
I was a kaleidoscope of personality.
My perspective on life refreshing and unique.
I loved the world and all that it had to offer.
People were my sunshine, laughter was my oxygen, and smiles my water.
My life was full and happy.
I am grateful that I was born with a heart that didn’t judge
because it allowed me to see all, know all, and share with all.
Not one moment of my life slipped away.
I saw rainbows when it thunderstormed and stars dancing when it was dark out.
I respected and opened my heart up to everyone;
the young, the old, the privileged, and the challenged.
My friend and family made me smile so much!
They would watch me dance in the kitchen, listen to my silly accents,
let me decorate the house for no reason at all, sing with me in the car,
and tell me about the special moments of their day!
They shared with me all of my favorite things:
gummy bears, peppermint patties, thrift clothes shopping,
and Sunday movies at the Ritz.
They let me express my individuality when I
bobby pinned my hair, wore T-Shirts that had holes in them,
made my own greeting cards, and watched Charles Kuralt on Sunday mornings.
It’s for all of you that were a part of my life
that I want to take this moment
to say “Thanks!”
for letting me be me
no matter who I chose to be!
Each and every one of you enriched the soil of my world.
And it is the reflection of your faces that I see
when I look in the mirror of my life.
It was you who filled my branches
with leaves of memories
that are scattered in the forest of your lives…forever.
I want to say that I am sorry for the sadness you felt
on that tragic day
when a drunk driver chopped me down
before the ring of my 18th birthday could be completed.
And although she took away my physical smile,
no person, big or small,
can take away my spirit,
a spirit that still has the chance to live…through all that you do.
What I ask
is that my death not be in vain
and that you seek to find some purpose
some good that can come from it.
Because as my spirit left my body
it grabbed a handful of seeds from the buds on my branches
and planted them in the depths of your souls
and from my seeds good things will come,
as long as that is what you believe!
I learned very early in my life:
“If you believe in yourself, anything is possible.”
Please don’t let my death consume you!
Instead thrive off of what we shared during our times together.
Live your life with my spirit in mind.
And just like I learned from observing you,
I hope that you are able to take something from me
to carry with you forever.
Because you see, it is through you
that I will be able to continue living and loving
and embracing the world
with the strong branches of my “Giving Tree.”