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Storm Trees

My father's hands a few years ago.

My father's long journey with Alzheimers ended this summer, on August 2. His deep and lifelong faith in God brought him comfort in even those dark and tumultuous last days and as a result we celebrated his entrance into eternity and his release from this terrible disease. The days are still challenging as we now turn our focus to supporting my mother as the years of caring for my father at home have taken a terrible toll on her. We are hopeful as we gather around her that these next years can be peaceful and hopeful as she rests from the tremendous load she has carried for the last 10 years of our father's life.

We continue to make Storm Trees. So many people are carrying such heavy burdens these days and at times, words fail us in knowing how to express our love and support. Dementia, depression, exhaustion, cancer, mental illness, and just plain difficult life situations.

We continue to trust these little trees can be a gift of encouragement to hurting people when they need a reminder that the giver is someone who cares, someone who is supporting, someone who continues to love even the journey feels like a lonely one.

These trees will be available at Brunswick Square next weekend at the Pioneer Craft Festival. Come find us on the third floor!

The birth of the Storm Tree started here

Alzheimers Disease is continuing to take its toll on my father. The early years don't look that bad from where we are now. There are days when it is hard to find joy, even a moment of it. Those are the storm days, the days when the challenges of long term illness overwhelm. The storms ebb and flow, but they are persistent and wearing on those providing support. Mostly, my mother, but my sisters and I do what we can. As I talked to my mother a few weeks ago, I could tell it had been a tough day. Even with a part time caregiver, she was exhausted and sad. Sometimes it seems, there is so little you can do, except just love, and just be there.

Long after our conversation ended that day, I wrestled with my thoughts. I just needed to do something in a situation where nothing really could be done except walk along side.

My husband came to me with a little wooden tree he had created in the workshop. A sturdy little wooden tree made of scraps from old pine boards harvested from the scrap heap at a local sawmill. It occurred to me they had weathered a few storms. I began painting and staining them, as I continued thinking about the hurting people in both my own family and my larger circle of friends.

So many people, so many storms and in so many places. The idea for storm trees started to form.

Brian and I began to create our little storm trees and attached this message to them. We developed them as a little encouragement gift to take to someone who was having a bad day, and just needed to know they were not alone. Small enough to sit on a fireplace mantle, or a hospital bedside and no more expensive than a modest bouquet of flowers. We decided in honour of both of our fathers who are suffering from Alzheimers, that five dollars from each purchase would be donated to The Alzheimers Society New Brunswick. We contacted them, and this was their response on Facebook:

October 18 at 8:34pm ·

Now on sale! These beautiful STORM TREES were created by a local caregiver, Deb MacCallum, and are on sale for $20, with $5 going to the Alzheimer Society of NB. .October 18 at 8:34pm. Please visit or call 1-800-664-8411 to find out how to get yours!

That really encouraged us and we got busy making trees. This year we have about 30 available now, and will have them at Maple Hill Barn's Old Fashioned Christmas Event Saturday,Dec 7, 2019 along with all of our other handmade and handpainted treasures. In Fredericton, we currently have 20 trees, available directly from the NB Alzheimers Society. Pearson's Market in Sussex has been selling them this season and still have a few left. Each tree is $20.00 with $5.00 from each tree going back to the good work being done by The Alzheimers Society in New Brunswick.

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