Our Evergreen

On August 5 we gathered in Tahoka to plant an Evergreen tree at Mom and Dad’s house.  It was just a few days after the 1-year anniversary of Bryce’s death.

We got up early and welcomed Tim Oliver and his son who brought the tree from Lubbock.  That morning it was just us – my parents, my brother and his fiance and my sisters with their families.  It was quiet and reverent.  Even my sweet nieces and nephews understood the solemnity of the occasion.

Our sweet friend Heather Tekell took pictures of the whole day.  These pictures are so precious to me!  She captured the sadness of the day, but also the beauty of family and the comfort that only we can give each other.


has street sign love this IMG_7000

Tim Oliver and his son delivered the tree and planted it with kind and sympathetic hearts.

He even prayed over the tree and over our family – how amazing is that?  It was so touching.

we watch the planting IMG_6911

We scattered Bryce’s ashes under the tree.

ryan with ashes 2 IMG_6950

Lexi with ashes 1 IMG_6955

jen with ashes 2 IMG_6958

LLB IMG_7033

And then the watering…I love this picture so much.  Grow precious tree, just grow!

the watering IMG_6989

We gathered around the tree, holding hands.  We prayed and cried.

In this circle of family there is always one missing.  I feel Bryce’s absence so immensely, but the tree is now part of him.

gathered in a circle around tree IMG_7008

Then all the kids brought out the blocks they had painted that week at Tahoka Cousins’ Camp.  They had put so much thought and effort into this project – and the results were perfect.  Beautiful colors with their heartfelt handwriting and drawings….they were so proud of their contribution.

I cry every time I look at these precious faces.  There is nothing more sacred than the tears of these kids.  My heart overflows at the love Bryce’s sisters and cousins have for him and will carry with them forever.


After our private ceremony early that morning, friends and family joined us to honor and remember Bryce.  Pastor Billy Everett had the perfect words to say.  He managed to undo and redo Bryce’s funeral.  It was incredibly healing for all of us to honor Bryce as he deserved to be honored.  What is it about being in Tahoka at my parents’ house that soothes and comforts?  It’s HOME.

the ceremony at tree IMG_7071

Mom read a tribute she wrote and explained the significance of the Evergreen and why it is the perfect tree for our sweet kiddo Bryce.  My mom has a way with words.  When she prays the Lord listens.  Her prayers bless everyone that hears.  I’m so glad she is Bryce’s Nandy.  I sometimes forget that her heart has been broken, too.


Mom reading IMG_7080

Mom and Jennie hug after moms reading IMG_7083

After the ceremony, we headed to the First Methodist Church for lunch.  My best friend Connie Luck did the tables and flower arrangements.  I gave her very little warning or direction – but what she did was perfect.  Everything was so pretty.  This girl blesses me and takes such good care of me.  I know I have not adequately thanked her.  I honestly don’t know how.

Connie flowers 3.


the food IMG_7096

Tammi and Mike Angeley provided sandwiches, and family and friends brought chips and dips and desserts.  It really was perfect.

Family IMG_7056

It’s taken me months to share this day.  The pictures are so vulnerable, so raw.  Sharing a small part of my family’s heart and suffering over the last 19 months is not easy.  I have written and commented on my own pain and my own journey  – but the people in this circle have walked this valley with me.

My parents have been my rock.

My brother has literally held me up when I couldn’t stand.

My sisters have stalked me, smothered me, forgiven me and loved me as only sisters can.

These are all drastic understatements.  I remind myself that they all lost something precious, too.  It helps to know I’m not alone missing Bryce and being sad that he’s gone.

In an unbearable life-altering situation, my family has saved me.  I adore and love each one of them.  And I’m so grateful for this Evergreen at Mom and Dad’s house.

There really isn’t much more to say than that.




4 thoughts on “Our Evergreen

  1. Jennie thank you for sharing your heart and photos. What a sweet tribute to Bryce! He will always be with you and what a great reminder when you are at your parents! You are prayed for and thought of more than you can imagine. I know God will continue to bless and heal your mama heart! Love you


  2. I have no words for how my heart feels reading this except to say “what a beautiful tribute and lasting gift”. To know you have family that feels your loss and hurts with you and are willing to create such a braitiful memorial touches my heart.
    I know you felt their love and support and their grief.
    This tree will be a joy for you- and I know for your parents- every time you look at it – filled and surrounded with a love that will never lessen.

    Sometime when you are going to Round rock, please let me know. I would love to meet you and hug your neck n

    This journey is so hard, but those who walk the same path with me always hold a special place in my heart.

    I love you and pray for your family.

    Donna Eller


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