We now have a new tree planted in
memory of Rachael, next to her grave. There was one empty spot available for a tree
and we were able to make use of that spot. It is not precisely aligned with her
grave, but that is because it was important to place the tree in the middle of the opening
within the existing line of trees. As you can see by the photo below, it is very
close to her grave and, most importantly, we all know it is there in her memory...in her
honor. And for many years to come we will know it is there in her memory and honor,
as we watch the tree grow.
Rachael's Red Maple
Rachael's Red Maple's first spring
Rachael's Red Maple's first autumn....not all the
leaves had turned red yet,
but for a new tree, it's still beautiful to this dad...and it is sure to grow
strong and tall and beautiful...just like Rachael
Rachael's Red Maple's second autumn. The photo
doesn't do justice to
the beauty of the red leaves. Her tree will only get more beautiful.
Rachael's Red Maple in the fall of 2007
Rachael's Red Maple in the fall of 2008
For some parents, installing the stone is something
they just go out and do.
For some, having it placed in the ground at the gravesite
is a very difficult and painful experience...seeing the name with
birth and death dates...their baby's name and death in stone...
Some find it something they avoid doing for quite some time. I was one of those.
In seeking advice and counsel from others who have been through this
ahead of me, the longest wait I learned of was a relative who lost a
child and waited 25 years before placing a stone at their daughter's gravesite.
Early on, during the shock season of grief, I just left the temporary
marker at the site and never got the stone. I gave "reasons" why I
needed to wait. After a while, I came to realize that I was avoiding it altogether.
I could even place photos of the tree higher up on this web page, but never came down to
bottom to re-read or update what I'd written so long ago about the stone.
Then, during the 4th year after
losing Rach to Heaven, I made a goal to myself
and shared it with those closest to me that, by the 5th anniversary, I was determined
to have the stone placed at her gravesite. While it would still have been easy for
to continue to avoid it, I'm happy to report that, by the 5th anniversary date,
the goal was accomplished. Finally.