Sunday Post 101: Astounding Love

The Healing Tree

The Healing Tree

In December of 2009 as Lisa was headed to surgery to remove her large tumor, some friends of ours did a really special thing for us.

They felt like a lot of people would want to support the Tanner family at Christmas.  Rather than encouraging folks to help in their own way, these friends put together a coordinated effort to do something that would be both meaningful and lasting.

Our first two elves came by our house in early December. They delivered a small Christmas tree full of lights, an angel for the topper and a beautiful hand-made tree skirt with our name embroidered across the front. They told us they had delivered our “Healing Tree” and that ornaments would soon follow.

Over the next four weeks, we received over 200 packages in the mail or on our front porch.  In each one, there was an ornament. With each ornament, there was a story – a story of how that person was connected to our family.

An English tea cup

An English tea cup

One English woman at Lisa’s work sent a teacup because Lisa always picked on her about her accent. A college friend tied string to a matchbox car van – a similar vehicle to the one they drove to Florida one spring break.

Some sent small framed photographs from years past. DSCN7380Lisa worked in fundraising and one lady made up a tiny rolodex with a fake listing of capital campaign prospects.

The creativity was impressive. The deeper meaning for us brought laughter and tears.

Putting up ornaments this year was not nearly as emotional as years past – until I opened the Healing Tree box. Every item I touched had such significance.

It’s not just the loss of Lisa that I feel when I think about that tree, that’s only part of the emotion.  Equally touching is the reminder of the love that was shown to our family during that most difficult time and my lack of ability to repay those who gave so much.

When you are so fully surrounded by love; when you know how desperately people hurt for and with you; it is a beautiful thing. I’ve seen compassion every day of my life, but never had I so personally experienced it in such an overwhelmingly large dose.

I am not thankful for my loss, but how fortunate I am to have experienced that astounding love.

The Smarties Star - sent to us by a college roommate who apparently ate a few of these with Lisa at UNC

Previous Post
Leave a comment


  1. Mom

     /  December 9, 2012

    I remember Wayne and I helping those precious girls put that tree up the year after Lisa died. It was not an easy job for me and several times I had to slep out of the room to pull this old woman together in order to be able to finish the tree. But…I also remember the joy the girls had putting it up and talking about each ornament. They seemed so happy about putting it up. It was a good thing to do but a hard scene to watch. I’m sure the memory of that tree will always be special for them.

  2. Homestead Ramblings

     /  December 9, 2012

    Wow – what an amazing testimony of love, both to and from.

  3. Alma Cutler

     /  December 9, 2012

    What a wonderful story. You are such a great person. Just remind your girls what a wonderful dad they have. Merry Christmas to your family.

  4. godcountrygolf

     /  December 9, 2012

    Beautiful! Merry Christmas Danny!

  5. Margaret Hambrick Glaze

     /  December 12, 2012

    Hey Danny. There is a ghost in the machine in Hickory. I just stopped receiving blog updates. New laptop. But R. York keeps me up on life and she sent me most recent with her comments to me. So see you at CSF this summer! If Gene catches me crying in my office he always says “Are you reading that blog again?” And I tell him it makes our marriage better. At least it will when my broken ankle heals. Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family. m

    • Danny Tanner

       /  December 13, 2012

      Mary Christmas to you too! And take care of that ankle – you have to drop kids off at camp soon!

  6. crozell25

     /  January 5, 2013

    Very touching article. Maybe I can put something together for my daughter next year. Thanks for sharing.
    I am trying to get the word out of a fundraiser to help a single father raising his daughter. He is need of money for rent and keep his family together. I hope this is not construed as spam. Please share via Facebook, Google, or any other means. Every little bit can help


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Tanner Tweets

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 11,921 other followers
  • Past Posts

  • Contact Us

%d bloggers like this: