Grief is a strange thing. There are moments when I can talk about my grandparents and share my memories about them while smiling. Other times, a small moment, a comment, a special date, makes the tears spring to my eyes.
I still miss them. Grandma died two years ago, and Grandpa the year before her. Time doesn’t change the ache of losing them. I still keep their numbers in my phone. I have the vases Grandma gave me when I first got married, the wooden plant stands Grandpa made, the kitchen utensils and corning-ware my uncle told me to take when we cleaned out their condo.
I hold onto these things, my memories, my photos with them. I think when we lose a loved one, we fear they will be forgotten. We hold onto the things we have left because it keeps them close to us, keeps their memory alive.
A Unique Way to Honour My Grandparents’ Legacy
When I heard about the Dedicate-a-Star program, I knew immediately who I’d dedicate a star to. My grandparents were anchors in my life. They were simple Alberta farmers who would have celebrated seventy-one years of marriage this summer. Both left a legacy of love to me, and I hope to my children as well.
H.R. MacMillan Space Centre’s Dedicate-A-Star program is a unique way to commemorate a special occasion—or a special person. I choose to dedicate a star to my grandparents.
The date I picked for the star dedication certificate is my grandparents’ wedding anniversary. It’s a day filled with special memories for me because of their deep, inspiring love for each other.
It also reminds me of the two big parties we threw for their 50th and 60th wedding anniversaries—events that brought together their extended families and large community to celebrate their love for each other. Their 65th wedding anniversary was a much smaller family affair, as Grandma’s dementia started to affect her health.
The Dedicate-A-Star Program
For donations starting at $50, you can dedicate a star to a loved one through the H. R. Macmillan Space Centre. Donations support the Space Centre’s programming, exhibits and activities in the areas of Earth science, space science and astronomy.
It’s a gift that will last forever, as we hope our memories of our loved ones will.
Each Dedicate-a-Star package includes a personalized star dedication certificate, information about the constellation, a star map showing the star’s location and a tax receipt for your donation. I’m planning to add these documents to a scrapbook about my grandparents, including photos and other special documents from their lives.
Donation amounts start at $50 for a 5th magnitude star, and go up to $500 for a 1st magnitude star. Stars are brighter with higher values.
Growing up rural Alberta, I have fond memories of staring up at the night sky. The Big Dipper was one of the first constellations I knew and could find on a winter night. It’s part of Ursa Major, or the Big Bear. And so when dedicating a star to my grandparents, I picked a star in this constellation.
Constellations are unchanging, stable, certain. They are a way of getting our bearing, no matter where we are in the world. When I was in Australia, I loved looking up at the night sky and seeing Orion, knowing my family could also see it on the other side of the world.
In a similar way, my grandparents were an unchanging, stable influence on my life. No matter where I went—to Australia as a university student, or to northern Alberta as a new mom, or to Vancouver Island to go back to school—I knew I could always come home to my grandparents.
Dedicate a Star to Someone You Love
Are you looking for a special way to remember and honour someone you love? Check out the Dedicate-a-Star Program at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre. You can write your own dedication (as I did) or choose from the pre-written ideas for various occasions.
The Dedicate-a-Star program also makes a great gift ideas for:
- career milestones
This program is a perfect gift idea for someone who has everything. It’s a way to give back to your community. And it’s a beautiful way to celebrate special people and special occasions.
Think of the “stars” in your life, whether they are people like my grandparents, or shining moments such as the day you met your spouse or the day you found out you were expecting your first child.
“Interest in our Dedicate-a-Star initiative has really grown in recent years,” says Raylene Marchand, Executive Director, Space Centre. “We are seeing more and more people wanting to give unique, environmentally-friendly gifts, along with a worldwide, renewed interest in supporting space education and discovery. We know our Dedicate-a-Star program hits the mark on both.”
More about H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
The H.R. MacMillan Space Centre is a not-for-profit community resource that brings the wonders of space to Earth, while providing a personal sense of ongoing discovery.
Through innovative programming, exhibits and activities, the goal of the Space Centre is to inspire sustained interest in the fields of Earth science, space science and astronomy.
This is a sponsored post on behalf of the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, who donated the star in honour of my grandparents. All opinions expressed are my own.