ST. PETERSBURG – If a ribbon in the sky is symbolic of one’s love, then a ribbon around a tree embraces that love and creates an unbreakable bond and fond memories. Family and friends shared laughter and sentiments in a tree planting and ribbon tying ceremony commemorating their loved one, Topeka Montegue, who lost her battle with Lupus but left lasting memories for so many people.
“I want to thank everyone that came out this afternoon to share in our memory,” said Betty Russell, mother to Montegue. “I know Topeka is looking down and smiling from heaven at all of you who came here today to remember her. I know that I miss her. We all miss her, but today we are reminded to celebrate her life. God does not make mistakes. I couldn’t have had a better daughter.”
Planting a tree represents putting down roots and future growth. It connects you to the earth with deeply buried roots symbolic of a strong family foundation. Trees also represent resilience; a tree bends in a storm just as we weather the daily struggles of life. This tree preserves fond memories and the challenge of losing someone so dearly loved.
Along with the symbolic content of the tree, there was the pinning of a yellow ribbon, which holds a very important place in the hearts and in the culture of the people in Western Christendom.
Young women in former times would tie ribbons in their hair, the hair being a symbol of spiritual covering. They would wear a ribbon in a pledge of faithfulness to the one they loved.
The ribbon showed the world that they are remembering and waiting for someone special.
Until that day of his return, they will wait for him.
“This moment is special because Topeka is special and we are going to see her again. I love her and every time I come to the house and see this tree, I’m going to smile and say hi to her,” said Alma Rita Brantley, Topeka’s aunt. “I admired her strength even when she was in the hospital. I had my church praying for her. She was like a daughter to me. I have really fond memories of her. We all do.”
After the emotional ceremony where each person shared their special moments, funniest times and most lasting memory, the group of family and friends settled for dinner just like they use to with Topeka.
Not only does a ribbon in the sky depict love, but also the ribbon on the tree is a reminder of that special loved one.