He literally couldn't carry them alone. People had to pick up his chains and carry them for awhile, and then they would reach exhaustion and other people would step in.
Write a poem that is a chain of vignettes capturing the circumstances under which your ancestors died. (If you don't know, ask, or do some research. Isn't this something we should all know?) It would be extra chain-like if they followed an order, like great-great-grandfather, great-grandmother, grandmother, etc... But if you have vivid emotional connections with certain Great Aunts or cousins you have lost, link them however you want. Connect the final image or words from each vignette to the first of the next somehow. You could also name each stanza after a trait you carry that you inherited from or share with this person. Consider crafting phrasery and imagery that play with dualities like heaviness/lightness, life/death, holding-on/releasing. This exercise could also be done studying someone else's family tree, someone historical, or famous, or invented.