So It Goes



I drive past this tree on my way to work every day. Some days, I feel like I should salute it as a respected foe, and on others I get weird memory flashes of what it looked like when it was a complete tree. On bad days, I give it a heart-felt middle finger as I go past.

No matter what my reaction on that particular day, the fact remains that I notice the tree every single day. I see it. I am aware of it. If the day should ever come when the road commission removes what’s left of it, I’ll still be aware of it as “the spot where The Tree used to be.”

On stormy days, I drive out of my way to avoid it, which is awkward because the avoidance route takes me past my ex-husband’s house, the home I shared with him for eighteen years. Basically, that means I get to choose between the route that may trigger a panic attack or the route that may make me look like an obsessed ex-wife with a serious stalking problem.

Such is life.

It’s been five years today since the top of this tree landed on my kids and me as I drove under it.

This picture was taken four years ago today, when my family and friends gathered on the side of the road for a group prayer. My daughter stuck daylillies into the bark of that poor, dead tree stump and we all marveled at the fact that there were still pieces of glass mixed in with the dirt on the side of the road.

I love this picture. It combines ugliness with beauty, old with new, loss with hope. To me, it represents a new beginning. A fresh start. A second chance.

Such is life, right?

I have a little favor to ask of everyone who reads my blog today. Imagine that tonight, at 6:18 p.m., the top of this tree is going to land on you and change your life forever. Imagine that today —this day— is the last day you will ever have to be the person that you are right now.

What will you do? How will you spend those hours?


Author: A.J. Goode

I am a romance novelist, single mother of three, and a high school lunchlady. To be completely honest, I have no idea which of those jobs is the most rewarding and which is the biggest challenge. I love them all. I write romance novels about the kind of people who might pass me on the street every day. My characters are often hurting in some way, and need to learn to trust others in order to heal themselves. I also blog about trying to focus on writing, and about my day-to-day experiences in small-town America. I write about life. The good, the bad, and the just plain odd.

5 thoughts on “So It Goes”

  1. So sorry to read about your freakish accident. I’ve experienced this kind of thing myself through my health problems and a family friend lost their son-in-law who had a sudden heart attack at 45 and died. I’ve stopped trying to make sense of it all and try to carpe diem seize the day along with being careful.
    I am thinking of you.
    Take care.
    xx Rowena


  2. I had to read this twice. You drive by this tree every day? Boy. I salute you.

    By “… those hours” do you mean the time that I have left before 6:18? Hmmm. My plan for today was to go for a lengthy dog walk with my newly returned from college daughter and our dog. Then write all afternoon. But now you’ve got me thinking. If I had only just under 7 hours of “innocent” time, I guess I’d like to spend it with some of the folks I love. My son (who’s currently 10,000 miles away), my daughter and my mom. Chatting over yummy food and drink. Just hanging out, laughing and chatting.


    1. I like either plan, Kelly! It all comes down to spending time with those we love — or at the very least, realizing that we love them even when we can’t be with them.


  3. Pray most of the day. Make a will, and get my affairs in order. Say my goodbyes to everyone that’s touched my soul and heart positively. Hug and kiss my loved ones. Pray to Jesus Christ for forgiveness for my sins and transgressions. Pray for my family members on the car journey, to come through the experience healthy and well. Say 50 “Hail Mary’s.” Tell my family, friends, and pets that I may be joining them soon in Heaven if I’m judged to be worthy of Heaven. Meditate outside in the fresh air, and reflect on what kind of life that I’ve lived. Try not to regret anything that I’ve ever said or done–own it and accept my faults as part of what defines me as who I have been, and who I am now, and if I’m reincarnated, as part of my soul that I’ll have to try to improve the next time around. Try to decide how I want to be remembered, and choose the songs for my possible demise. Continue praying.


    1. I love this! Especially the part about choosing songs. Crazy as it sounds, I picked out songs for my funeral while I was pinned under the tree: “Ashokan Farewell” on the fiddle, and “10,000 Miles” by Mary Chaplin Carpenter.


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