Planting a memorial tree helps our grieving

I am fortunate because, as a professional counsellor, I am
obliged to attend a supervisor every few weeks. Mary, my supervisor,
supported me whenever I felt I needed to talk about it. She
suggested that I plant a memorial tree as a sign of acceptance.
When she said this I felt a surge of sadness, as the emotional
impact of such acceptance hit me. I realised that I still did not
want to accept Cathal’s death, even after such a long time.

But during the week following my session, I experienced a
sense of calmness, and felt that it was emotionally right for
me to plant the tree. I hoped that all my family would support
me in that decision, and it was with some trepidation that I
asked for their opinion. It was such a wonderful moment for
me as they all expressed support for the idea. It was all the
more wonderful because Mary brought home a bough and
suggested that we look for that particular tree. Eventually she
chose a different one, and made the choice of a drooping
Cotoneaster tree. I feel so satisfied with that. I cut off a
triangle in the lawn near the front gate, enclosed it with a
slabbed path, and filled it with stones so that it is a lovely
commemorative feature.

All our family gathered for this little celebration. Bill
planted the tree and Frances composed a healing prayer,
which she recited as he planted it:

Dear Jesus,

We gather together in your name to plant this tree in
memory of our beloved Cathal. Lord, we remember
Cathal’s life today. We give you thanks for the gift of his
life. We believe that some day we will all be together in
Heaven. Jesus, even as you give life to this tree, give life
to the places in our hearts and lives that died with
Cathal. Wash over us with your life-giving Holy Spirit.
Draw us closer to you and to each other.

We pray in Jesus’ Name,


Posted in Bereavement Grief and Loss, Complicated Grief, Death of a Child
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