This story is long and complicated. I'm going to tell it from the very start, as if you knew of none of the details. If some of it seems redundant, I apologize....this is the longest story EVER.
When we moved into our last home, in 2003, it was brand new, just like our current house. We were in charge of the landscaping, which was fine with me because I love landscaping. When it was time to create our flower beds, my Mom and I worked together to create something we loved. She and I happened to find a beautiful crabapple tree, we had no idea what kind it was, I just loved the shape, it was so different, but so simple. I was in love.
My sister lost a baby in 2004, we started the garden just two months after her loss, his name was Jonathon. That tree was my Jonathon tree. I had a brick engraved with his initials made at a local landscaping place, I placed the brick at the base of the tree.
As the years passed, this tree became better and better. So, when we had to move, the thing that made me the saddest was leaving that beautiful little tree. I expressed my love for the tree to the new owner and told her that if she ever decided she didn't like it and wanted to get rid of it, to please call me and I would try to relocate it. She promised me that she, too, loved the tree and she would take care of it for as long as she lived there. That made me feel better.
When we moved into this new house, I knew I wanted the same tree, except I wanted two of them, both of them being planted in honor of James & Jake. The problem? I had no idea what kind of tree it was. I began my search at big name home improvement stores, in their gardening department. My Mom even looked in her area. We found nothing.
I didn't know what kind of tree I wanted, but I knew I wanted to have bricks made at the same place that did Jonathon's. On a Friday, I went there to place my order and I began talking to the owner about this particular tree. She walked with me to the area where all of her crabapples were and she let me browse. And I found one. I saw that it was called Lollipop Crabapple, but I also saw that the tree was $150! Plus, she only had one.
I was excited to have found out the type of tree, but bummed that it was so expensive and that they only had one. I began walking toward the store front to place my brick order when I spotted another one. I went into the store and told her there was another one, right outside the store and she told me it wasn't a lollipop crabapple.
"Well, the tag says it is," I replied.
She then agreed that I was right, it was indeed a lollipop crabapple. I left the store with the intention to continue searching for other lollipop crabapples that may be cheaper somewhere else. But I also felt like these trees were THE TREES, something just told me so, it's like they were just waiting for us. But $300 for trees? I could not fathom paying that much.
That night, I wrote about our landscaping plan and planting trees and someone who lives in my area, Jen, she left a comment that said "tonight, my family and I were
coming home and drove past the landscaping place out here, and there is
a sign saying if your name is Beth or Brian, stop in for a free rose...." I replied to her comment asking her which landscape place and she said told me. It was the exact place I had been to just hours before.
My name is Beth, my husband's name is Brian. The fact that our names were on the sign was just a coincidence. or so it seemed. To me, I felt like it was meant to be and really, even Brian couldn't disagree. (I wrote about the whole sign thing here, you can see how excited I was about the whole thing.)
On Saturday afternoon, we decided to purchase the trees. I got in the car and called my sister, Sarah, and told her about everything and I was absolutely, positively ecstatic. I truly felt like I had been given a sign from James and Jake or some higher power. (God? The universe? My grandma? I don't know.) My sister asked me if I was going to tell the story to the person at the landscape place, I said I was thinking about it. She encouraged me, telling me that they would be so happy to be a part of such happiness in our life right now. I agreed and she said "call me as soon as you are done!"
I walked in and came across a "youngish" girl, who looked very young, but wasn't nearly as young as I thought she was. (maybe between the age of 28-34?) I told her what trees I wanted, we walked out of the store together and I showed her the one I wanted, the one near the store. I tell her there is another one over there, I was pointing in the crabapple tree direction. She told me that this one is the only one they have. I corrected her and she said "oh, well, you know better than me, then." She was joking. I laughed.
She wasn't overly warm, but I couldn't image not telling someone at this place about these trees and their meaning in our lives. So, I decided to just tell her, otherwise I would regret.
"So, I have a story to tell you," I say.
"uh, oh." she replied.
me - "No, it's nothing bad..."and I began telling her our story, the most sacred story I have, the one that I barely share with anyone, let alone strangers, but I trusted her and feel that it was necessary and right and so I shared this moment with her. I told her we lost our twin sons in February...
her - aw.
At this point I felt her coldness and it hurt my feelings, but I continued.
her - she barely responded to me, in the middle of my telling her this story, she talked to employees, interrupting me, multiple times. I felt like she was beating me up.
I finally got to the end of my story, which I wished I hadn't started and at one point in the story I felt like the biggest freakin' idiot telling this person this story and just wanted to end it right there, but I continued and then the last part of the story, I said "and then this person I know tells me she saw my name and my husband's name on your sign.."
She interrupts me "THAT IS NOT OUR SIGN. THAT IS THE FLOWER SHOPS SIGN THAT IS INSIDE OUR STORE."
I know. I say. I turned away from her, I said "wow." and I began walking away from her. Tears filling my eyes. She says sarcastically "yes, it's meant to be." I continue to walk.
She was acting like the reason I was telling her this story was to get
something for free.
I paid for my trees and a guy loads them into my van, I open the door, sit down and I start to cry.
She didn't care. She didn't care about me as a grieving mother, as a woman, as a human being. She just didn't care and I felt like SUCH AN IDIOT for trusting her with this story. How could she be so cold? I felt so stupid that I had gone on and on about these trees on my blog and everyone was encouraging me to buy these trees and I do and it ends up like this. why did I have to tell her this story? I didn't have to share it. WHY DID IT END UP THIS WAY? I was heartbroken. It may seem silly that I let this perfect stranger affect me so much, but that was beyond my control. I tried to get rid of her evil, but I couldn't. I had such a small amount of strength that weekend and she broke me. She completely broke me.
I did not matter to her and that's okay, I can handle that. But the lives of James and Jake did not matter to her, and that is not okay, and I can't handle that.
Crying, I called Brian and asked him to call the store and ask if I can return the trees. The owner answers the phone and tells him yes, but I would be charged a 15% restocking fee and a 6% credit card fee. She wanted to know why I didn't want the trees, she saw me drive off the lot, what was the problem?
I get home and I am so upset I can hardly breathe, Brian, the kids and I sat on our love seat together as they all tried to make me feel better, asking about James and Jake and reminding me how special they are, that they do matter and that my family is amazing. Even my four and five year old know how to deal with death and our loss, but this other woman did not.
A few minutes later, the phone rings. It's a cell phone. It's the girl who blew me off.
her - Beth?
her - The owners just told me that you just asked if you could return the trees. Is there problem?
me - well, not with the trees. I have a problem with you. I told you this story, about the death of my babies and you acted completely and totally uninterested, like we didn't matter to you.
her - Well. I'm quite sorry you feel this way
me- I don't think you are.
her - I am quite sorry. I have a one year old and I can't even imagine losing her. The lollipop crabapple is a great tree, the shade it provides, the shape, etc, etc.
me- I KNOW why they are great trees.
her - I sell a lot of trees in memoriam, I guess I have just heard every story. I guess I'm just hardened.
me - Well, perhaps in the future, you can keep in mind that these TREES and these STORIES are all some people have, maybe next time around you won't be so "hardened" or calloused. You are so fortunate to have no idea what it feels like to be your customer, the person looking for trees, some of us aren't as lucky as you.
her - Well, I'm quite sorry you feel that way
me - everything about these trees and this weekend are so significant to me, you ruined it. I don't want your trees. You turned the little bit of light I had this weekend and brought us only darkness. I wish I had never gone into your store today.
her - I'm quite sorry you feel this way. (completely emotionless, throughout our entire phone call)
I should probably mention to you that I was totally sobbing the entire time we were on the phone.
She was such a jerk. She was the devil. I think she may be the only person I hate.
I wanted to take the trees and shove them, well, you know. But I knew these trees were meant to be. I can't figure out why whatever happened the way it happened, but either way, those trees were meant to be and she will not be taking that away from us.
On July 20th, the next morning, my due date. The phone rings again...it's her. Oh good, I thought, she feels bad, she's going to give me a real apology.
"Hi Beth, it's jerk face from the jerk face store, I just wanted to let you know that the person who told you about our return policy was wrong, you MAY NOT return the trees."
Oh my God, are you serious, I remained calm and told her I planned to keep them.
"greeeeaaaatttt. They are great trees. Again, I'm quite sorry."
"sure you are."
I hung up and wound up calling her back because her story didn't make sense and I knew she was lying to me, I mean, the OWNER told my husband what the return policy was. The owner was wrong? She gave me a reason why the owner was wrong, basically she said the owner didn't know I had taken the trees off of the lot.
I told Brian what she said after we hung up and said "she's lying, I told the owner you had the trees, she knew it because she saw you driving away."
So, basically she just wanted to ruin my day. But she didn't.
But I will never EVER step foot in that place again...and if you live in this area, I hope you don't either.
(I know you don't know where I'm talking about, but if you live in the area (northwest Indiana) and you e-mail me, I will tell you, oh yes, I will tell you.)
Oh and if anyone tells me I was too sensitive. I will cut you. For real.