The Hope Tree in Full Bloom

“Sometimes it takes a special person experiencing very difficult circumstances to remind us how much courage it takes to move on. Two Wellesley residents in very different situations are finding ways to move on after life put huge walls in their paths. (A 46 year old mother of four diagnosed last year with stage 3 breast cancer continued training and ran the Boston Marathon raising funds for women who do not have access to mammograms and RoseMary were mentioned.) We all come to the realization at some point in our lives about how fragile and how precious life is. These two are showing us all that by moving on, we can help more people than we ever dreamed.”

Wellesley Townsman

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Wellesley woman creates “Hope Tree” to honor son’s memory

by Teddy Applebaum/ Wellesley Townsman staff

Born from tragedy, the “Hope Tree” stands in Wellesley resident RoseMary Fuss’ front yard, its branches stretched towards the heavens adorned with knitted memories of the past that swing slowly in the wind. The tree is a reminder of the child she lost to suicide, but also of the hope she carries for the future.

This past Feb. 27 would have been Tommy’s 21st birthday. Not a day goes by when she doesn’t think of him. “Milestones are difficult,” she said, her voice trailing off. “There are no words to express the loss of a child.”

And so this year, she decided to do something different, to create something tangible to represent the memories she has of her son, a young man who had so much promise and died too soon; something to help her get through the holidays when it becomes difficult to focus on the present, when it’s so easy to slide into the past.

“I wanted to do something for myself to help myself get through the period,” she said. “I’ve accepted that I can’t do anything about the past but I know that I can do something about the future”

So Fuss hatched an idea to decorate a tree in his memory.

“Walking, knitting, and quilting have become my therapies,” she said. “I decided to take my hope and express it in knitting.”

“I can’t undo my mistakes with Tommy, but with knitting you can undo anything, you can rip it out and redo it,” she said.

It began with one simple goal: to knit a strawberry frosted donut—Tommy’s favorite—and hang it like a wreath on her front door. But soon the thought took on a life of its own.

Today the tree stands in full bloom, its trunk wrapped in vivid scarves, its limbs adorned with some of her favorite reminders of her son.

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