In a heart-warming ceremony earlier this month, the sons of the late Amanda Torbit of Jarrettsville planted and dedicated a tree in their mother's memory at Eden Mill Nature Center in northern Harford County.
The tree planting was an expression of appreciation for the both the life of Ms. Torbit and the strong bonds within the community where she lived, one of the organizers explained.
Ms. Torbit, who was 33, was expecting her third son when she suffered an aneurysm and died on Sept. 14, 2012.
On July 7, her sons, Dylan, Tyler and Joseph Torbit, were joined by other family members and friends to plant the red oak in her memory.
According to Maria Federico Calder of Jarrettsville, a family friend who helped to organize the tribute to Ms. Torbit, Dylan, 12, the oldest attends North Harford Middle School and is a Boy Scout in Troop 809 in Jarrettsville. Tyler, 9 is a student at Jarrettsville Elementary School and Joseph is an infant. The three boys live with their grandparents in Jarrettsville.
"The Torbit family had the opportunity to provide the gift of life by donating Amanda to the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland," explained Calder, a mortgage consultant with Wells Fargo in Owings Mills, in an e-mail. "This organization has provided over 7,000 organ transplants and is proud to continue to save and enhance lives in our community."
According to its website, the Living Legacy Foundation "facilitates the donation and recovery of human organs and tissues for transplantation and research. We provide advocacy, family support and comprehensive public and professional education, and are committed to organizational excellence to enhance the organ and tissue donation and allocation processes."
"As a devoted mom, Amanda accompanied her boys on many field trips and outings including Eden Mill for hikes with scouts," Calder wrote. "As an avid Ravens fan her favorite color was purple. A red oak tree is being donated and planted in her honor so that as the season change and the leaves transition from reds to purples we can be reminded of Amanda's spirit."
"In addition to the gift of life Amanda gave to others, the boys are giving this tree to Eden Mill Nature Center as a legacy to future scouts and school children that they may enjoy the gardens and trails at Eden Mill with their mothers," she added.
Calder, whose son, Tommy, is a friend of Dylan Torbit's, spoke briefly during the tree dedication and planting, where she related how she came to know and bond with Ms. Torbit and other parents in the community when she moved to Harford County a decade ago.
"It is through schools, rec teams, scouts and church that we made new friends and watched our children grow," she said. "As a community we look out for each other's kids and, when I couldn't be there to get Tommy to a scout meeting or practice, someone stepped up to help. I've taught a few kids to swim and provided a few plates of linguine with white clam sauce, with a side of professional makeup lessons to some of the girls. We all take care of each other.
"Tommy and Dylan have gone to school together since kindergarten, but things change and they will go to different schools next year," Calder continued. "Regardless, I will always have Dylan on my radar, as I am certain Tommy will remain on everyone else's radar. Especially as they get older we will always keep an eye on you guys, and that is our gift to each other."
"It is often said that it is better to give than receive. Dylan and Tyler, when you guys think back on today, remember how great it feels to give and how proud your mother must be of you and the friendships you have made through school, scouts and sports," she said, also telling them: "Boys, be proud of yourselves and the gift you are making to Eden Mill to honor your mom."
The tree planted in memory of Ms. Torbit was donated by Farmington Nursery in White Hall, and the stone memorial placed on the ground near the tree was provided by Carved Graphics Inc. in Jarrettsville.
Jarrettsville Elementary School teachers are also planning to have a star named after Amanda Torbit, Calder said.