JANUARY 17–In the Redwood Forest

Below is a screenshot of Caitlin’s Instagram from our trip home in September, 2015, when she got to visit the Prouty Garden one last time.  As I’ve mentioned, the current Children’s Hospital administration made their decision to cut down/kill the Prouty Garden’s 65 foot Dawn Redwood tree this past December, the same day Caitlin went on ECMO.

The dawn redwood is in the middle rear of this pic

Today, in Caitlin’s honor, Nick and I visited the Muir redwood forest here in California.

The last movie that Caitlin saw was at the Carnegie Science Center a few months ago, the recent “National Parks Adventure” at the Omnimax. From CNN’s review of the film:
Two of the most integral figures in national park history are also honored in the film — conservationist John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt, who convened in 1903 at Yosemite National Park. Their famous three-day camping summit under the stars in a giant grove of Sequoia trees is re-enacted by a pair of dedicated tribute actors.
“That meeting [between Roosevelt and Muir] is often regarded as the most important three days in conservation history, so we knew we had to include it,” says MacGillivray.

“They believed that nature was of spiritual value, and that you could get more out of it by not changing it. It was a unique point of view then — and one that people might take more for granted now.”

Like anything so natural and overwhelming to puny beings like us, photographs cannot do justice to how it feels to walk there among our earth’s tallest living things. But if you’ve never been, try to go in this lifetime. The forest is like a cathedral–hushed, and filled with shade and light.
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Nick and a redwood

At one point, Nick opened his knapsack and took out the photo of Caitlin that he’s been carrying on this trip.

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This is quite a large photograph but looks like a 3×5 against this tree.


He also brought the religious gifts various people had given to Caitlin while she was sick and which hung on her IV poles in the hospital and during her surgeries.


It’s 4 weeks today, exactly, and as I write that, it hits me all over again that it is true.

But Jess is here, and we love her. And we saw Kenley, too, last night. And read aloud a wonderful note we received from the kids’ former headmaster at Fay. And basically went on living, as impossible as that seems to be to do.


Author: kittenupdates

I am the author of CASCADE and LITTLE MATCHES: A Memoir of Grief and Light

9 thoughts on “JANUARY 17–In the Redwood Forest”

  1. It does seem impossible that we go on living, doesn’t it? I wish you didn’t have to write about grief but I don’t think I’ve ever read anyone who does it so beautifully. That personal pilgrimage must have filled you to spilling over. xxxx

  2. Caitlin was so connected to nature and I know her spirit was delighting there in the forest with you all. Going back through our correspondence, there were several times where her health and the Garden’s seemed to be moving in tandem, not just when they took down the tree. It’s wonderful to know that the trees in Muir Woods will be protected forever, even if we have to travel far to stand amongst their wisdom.

  3. Beautiful post that inspires me to go here in May or maybe on spring break in March. That photo of Caitlin looks like it belongs there. I do believe trees have healing powers and I’m happy to know you’re among them, and miraculously capable of being open to their beauty. And thanking God Nick is by your side. And sending prayers and love each day.

  4. Such beauty among those redwoods, and what a wonderful way to honor Caitlin with the photos of her photo and special objects. I hope to visit one day.
    I am appalled at the pathetic young souls who made the decision to destroy such a beautiful place of healing that was Prouty Garden. Such a shame. I actually was not aware (until you posted) that the giant redwood had been cut down so recently. I can understand how it must have had such a negative impact on Caitlin, it being such a special and healing place for her over the years.
    One month. Love to you both.

  5. Such a lovely post Maryanne. I knew the time was coming up and I am very sorry for your pain. I still can’t believe how everything ended for Caitlin but you must know how deeply her life has touched people in so many ways and I really hope and pray that this gives you comfort. Thank you so much for all the photos. The photo of the Prouty Garden makes me cry because the garden was so special to so many and Caitlin tried hard to save it. I too felt that the cutting down of the Dawn Redwood wood not be a good thing at all for Caitlin. This is why, I especially I love the her photo between the trees; it is where she belongs I think. Peace and love always. I have just requested “Sarum” from the library; I think Caitlin has opened my eyes and taught me much already.

    All The Best,

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