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Together Forever: One Mother’s choice to leave a meaningful legacy for her son

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To celebrate the month of love, we’re sharing stories of Better Place Forests customers that have chosen to live Together Forever in one of our forests. Susannah and her son Miles have been coming to Point Arena for years, so when Susannah began making her end-of-life plans Better Place Forests Point Arena was the perfect choice. We sat down with Susannah to learn why she chose to make end-of-life plans as an act of love for her son. 

Coming home to Point Arena 

Point Arena has always been a special place for Susannah and her son Miles. The two have traveled to the picturesque beach town since Miles was just four — and since have shared countless camping trips and family vacations there. Susannah has always known that she wanted to leave a legacy that wouldn’t place a burden on her son. When she came across Better Place Forests Point Arena she knew it was where she belonged. Susannah couldn’t think of anywhere better to be laid to rest than the place where she made so many memories with Miles and their loved ones. 

“My son and I have been going up to Point Arena for decades — at least once a year. We love that coastline right there. It’s like our favorite place in the world. So when I first heard about Better Place Forests I was really excited because I finally found a way to make sure that I could make my own arrangements.” – Susannah

A beam of sunlight shines through the canopy of the Point Arena Memorial Forest.

Like many parents, it was important to Susannah that she got her end-of-life plans in order before she passed away. “Miles will be the one making decisions about my disposal if decisions need to be made,” Susannah said. “ But when you’re in that state, when you’re grieving — he would have to try to make decisions for me — I didn’t want to stick him with that.” We hear this sentiment echoed by many of our customers, which is why we advise parents to start planning their legacy as soon as possible. 

Susannah had been looking for the perfect end-of-life option for a few years when she came across Better Place Forests in the news. As a lifelong environmentalist, choosing a sustainable option was incredibly important to her. She wanted to find something that gave back to the planet that had nourished her and her son over the years. “There’s nothing I like better than wild animals and trees and the wind. And so to be a part of that is so much better than being inside a cardboard box full of chemicals not even able to do what my body is designed to do at that point in its existence.”

Choosing eternity in the redwoods 

Susannah and Miles went to choose her tree on Miles’ birthday, which was just one day before her own. Even though this was a slightly different celebration than usual, picking Susannah’s tree was a joyous occasion. “Somebody asked if they could take my picture because they said that I was glowing,” she said. Susannah doesn’t understand why so many avoid making end-of-life plans and prefers to look at it from a positive lens. “Why not find the beauty in it and then feel good about our future? To think of being a Tanoak on a hillside in that lovely forest makes me happy.”

That day, when choosing her tree, a special force was at play. The number seven has followed Susannah throughout her life. 

“I was born on the seventh hour of the seventh day of the seventh month. When my dad passed away, I found this ring. I don’t know if you can see it, but it has the number seven on it. I was wearing this ring when I went to choose my tree. And the ribbon around this particular Tanoak had a number seven on it. So what do I do? This is my tree. I said Miles is this my tree? He said Mom, it has a number seven on it. It’s your tree.

A close up view of moss growing on a tree in the Point Arena Memorial Forest

A mother’s love continues on

Susannah chose her memorial tree for herself — and for her son’s future peace of mind. Years after she’s passed, she hopes for Miles to return to the forest and Point Arena. “I want Miles to be able to plant those wildflower seeds and then to go back whenever he wants and bring his dogs to visit me and bring his kids when he has kids.“ We look forward to seeing their family and Susannah’s tree grow for generations to come. 

“Even if I was traditionally buried or cremated and left on his shelf or in a closet. I think that he would still go to Point Arena to remember me. So this was just perfect for us.” 

When you’re ready to begin planting the roots of your own story, we’re here to help. Book a free online forest tour to start creating your legacy.

A family and their dog sit at the base of a memorial tree

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