the chorus i had first:
hold fast fast fast
hold close close close
hold on on on
and i worked backwards from there. each verse starts with "father", "mother", "son", and the title came to be "Family Tree". each verse also ended up telling about some kind of loss: the "Father" verse communicates that his daughter lost her ability to trust another man because her father left her.
father crowned in victory
remember to take all your riches when you leave
don't you understand, how can i trust another man
i never learned how to stay
the "Mother" verse tells about a child losing their mother and wishing she were still here.
mother i so wish you were here
my hiding place, my saving grace from all my fears
you planted seeds in place, casting kindness in your wake
well i'm still here to finally watch them grow
the "Son" verse alludes to questioning, doubting, and losing strength to be able to live in freedom from those things.
son are you praying by the tree
do you know my doubts, do you hear my cries, do you see me
well i'm not strong enough to go to the empty tomb
for a wretched sinner dressed in clean clothes, is there room?
but then the lyrics repeat again to hold fast, hold close, hold on.