Grandfathers, loss and legacy; a very personal story

It’s Okay to want to leave a legacy.

We talk about the idea of legacy; leaving a legacy, living a legacy.

The way we wish to leave or live a legacy can be different for every individual.

Parents, grandparents, siblings, friends and relatives are all impacted by the loss of a child.  It’s Okay for any individual to want to honour the memory of your child.

It’s Okay for anyone to want to leave a legacy.

Loss and absent grandfathers

When we lost our son, both grandfathers were busy working with commitments that could not be moved.  Neither could attend the funeral.  Both grandfathers were naturally upset, but due to the time required for travel, there was little that could be done.

Honouring a grandson

Many months after the loss, and I was sitting on the beach chatting to my Dad.  We talked about my stillborn son, the loss and my Dad’s distress at not being able to be with us at the time.  He mentioned that when the first anniversary came, he’d like to do something special to honour his second grandson who he’d never been able to meet, hold or play with.  This was such a beautiful conversation; very emotional and moving.

Wanting to leave a Legacy
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Time passed and the anniversary approached.

My husband and I discussed what we wanted to do to remember our boy and made a plan.

My parents, and my Dad especially, also had a suggestion.  Dad said he wanted to plant a tree to remember our son; his grandson.  But not just any tree.  He had a special tree in mind.

A Wollemi Pine. (The Wollemi Pine is an Australian native tree that dates from the time of the dinosaurs. They are very rare, and very challenging to grow).

We were amazed, and deeply moved.  It was a perfect choice.  What better way to remember our little boy than with a beautiful dinosaur tree?

The day after the first anniversary, we travelled to my parents house for the weekend.  Dad had researched the Wollemi pine, ordered it, and identified the best location in the garden to plant it.  The hole was dug, the meagre ashes of our baby boy were scattered and the tree was planted.

The Legacy Tree

From that day, my Dad has loved, nurtured and tended to that tree like it is his grandson.

Now, nearly seven years on since it was planted, the Wollemi Pine is healthy.  In fact, it is flourishing and growing faster than any of the extensive research suggested it would.  We are sure it’s because of the ashes, and the devoted love and attention of my Dad, a loving grandfather.

In this way, a grandfather is honouring the grandson he never knew, and leaving a legacy for future generations of the family too.

More

Would you like to honour your child but are not sure where to start?  Get in touch and we can have a chat about what honouring your child may look like for you.

Parents Evolving & Transitioning After Loss is a group for parents and grandparents who have experienced baby loss.  To learn more about the group click here.

If you enjoyed this post, and would like to read more from the It’s Okay series:

It’s Okay to Pause

It’s Okay to Change

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

4 Comments

  1. A very touching post. Thank you for sharing.

  2. What a beautiful and very moving article! It is said that there is 3 things that outlive us: our children, our writing and by planting a tree. The choice of the tree could not be more apt. Thanks for sharing something so personal.

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