How long does an oak tree live, he wondered. It had been a place to play when he was a child, swinging from it's mighty branches, or climbing to great heights. When he'd first met Sharon, they had found comfort under these mighty branches, talking of their future together, and of the 2.7 kids the government said they would have.
Sharon was twenty, and he was twenty three when they married beneath this same oak. He remembered clearly the ceremony, and the lush canopy of leaves that protected them from a flash rain storm.
When their first child died of SIDS, it was under this same oak that they sat and sobbed until they could cry no longer. Robert, their next child was healthy, and strong, then along came Karen, a surprise, but a welcomed surprise. The children thrived. The tree was much a part of the family. It was their anchor in many a storm.
Then Sharon died. She went to bed one night and never woke up. A stroke, they said. And this was just the beginning. Twenty one days after Sharon died, Robert was killed in a freak accident. He was waiting in a left turn lane, when ahead of him a gas tanker, going west, was struck by a east bound semi carrying a snow plow. Robert's car was inundated with gasoline and he died in the flames.
Then, three weeks ago, Karen and her child died in child-birth. My God, this is the twenty first century. No one should die in child birth.
Now it's my turn, he thought. He removed the eight foot aluminum ladder and the rope for the bed of his pickup, and struggling, carried these to the base of the tree. He propped that ladder against the tree and gingerly climbed it until he reached a stout limb. He tied the rope to the limb, then tied the other end around his neck.
As he stepped off the ladder, this refrain ran through his mind.
don't you cry
go to sleep my little baby