And They Came to Help Save the Trees

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Below is the recounting of how David Milarch found his life’s purpose–and that is to save the Earth’s canopy.

Death was near, my body shutting down. I lay limp in my bed at home, barely aware of my wife, Kerry, and my mother at my side. All I felt was sadness. And regret. What a waste. I was an alcoholic, too often an embarrassment to Kerry and our two sons, Jared and Jake. I did not want my kids to see me like this.
Too late, that summer of ’92, I’d tried to get sober – cold turkey, here in my bed. But my liver and kidneys could not take the sudden withdrawal. Barely Breathe Could I, my lungs filling with fluid. A friend took me to the emergency room, where they gave me a blood transfusion, but the doctor’s face was grim.
“We need to put you on dialysis,” the doctor said. “That will give you time to say good-bye to your family.” I’d come home a day ago. I was still alive. Barely.
Forty-one years. What had I accomplished? I was proud of the boys. Jared was 12 and Jake was 10, my helpers on our family tree farm. I’d tried to encourage them, told them to never give up on their dreams. But Kerry was really the one who’d seen to their upbringing.
The farm, 150 acres in northern Michigan, was my other passion. We grew shade trees: maples, locusts, birch. Did my life even matter?
Suddenly I felt a hard pulse in my chest, like a thud. I floated from the bed toward the ceiling. I looked down. My body lay in the bed lifeless. I looked awful, bloated, my skin yellow and gray. Like I’d washed up on a beach. Is this it? I thought. My time on earth over?
I felt a touch, gentle, yet firm, on my right arm. I turned to see a beautiful female in a radiant white gown. There was a fragrance, sweeter than any flower. I breathed it deep into my lungs. “We know you’re scared,” she said. “But we’re here to help.”
“Who are you?” I said.
“We’re here to help you,” she repeated. To my left there was another female, nearly identical to the first, holding my other arm. Angels? I wondered to myself. What could they want from me?

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