Remember always

Family memorializes stillborn child with new tree

A grieving local woman has added a new feature to the north bank of the Lil' Rascals Pond, a tribute to a grandson who was taken from this world far too soon.

Pam Lathrop, a Craig resident, planted the crabapple tree Monday afternoon in memory of her grandson, Laredo Pitkins, who was stillborn. Had he survived, June 8 would have marked his sixth birthday.

"The loss was hard on all of us. He would have been my first grandchild," Lathrop said. "He didn't have a chance."

Lathrop's daughter, Nicole Pitkins, had been trying for five years to have a child before she got pregnant.

After nine months of carrying the child, one morning Pitkins "got sick all of a sudden."

"When she got to the hospital, the doctor told her the baby was gone," Lathrop said.

"I had five miscarriages. I know how it feels," Lathrop said. "But I never wanted my child to go through that, especially nine months along."

Lathrop added that there were a lot of hard feelings about what happened, but it was nobody's fault.

"God needed him more than we did down here," she said.

Now, six years later, Lathrop said she planted the tree to remind her of her grandson whenever she goes to the pond.

Lathrop goes to the pond a lot with her 4-year-old grandson, Aidan.

"Aidan fishes there all the time," she said.

Lathrop added that she thinks that by having Aidan fish at the pond, he can spend some time with his cousin Laredo.

"He doesn't understand when I talk to him about his cousin," Lathrop said. "He was excited we were doing this in his memory, he wanted to help shovel dirt for the tree.

"When he grows up, he can have something to be proud of, to always remember."

Lathrop said that because Laredo was buried in Denver, where his parents live, she wouldn't get to visit often, which was another reason to plant the tree.

"When my daughter and her husband come up to visit, they can stop by the tree, too," she added.

Lathrop said she would love to see other people plant trees by the pond in memory of people they have lost.

Lathrop has planted another tree, in memory of close family friends. A dwarf apple tree has been planted in memory of Ryan Empson, Wendy Graham and their son, Ryan Paul.

Empson was killed in Oct--ober in a semi-truck accident. Then, when Ryan Paul was 21 months old, he and Graham also died from injuries in an automobile accident.

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