For parents who have lost a child, the smallest gestures can make the largest impact.
Unfortunately, isolation often follows loss for grieving parents, as those around them keep their distance out of fear of saying the wrong thing. But bringing child loss into the light is an important step, not only in honoring a precious life lost, but in recognizing those who live on with hearts forever changed.
Here are some of the beautiful ways parents are honoring the lives of their children gone too soon.
1. Have beautiful artwork created as something to hold onto.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow — A Journey of Love and Healing shared a touching artwork tribute for mothers who have suffered pregnancy loss. Australian mom and photographer Sarah Murnane, who describes herself as an “angel mummy” to “4 beautiful angels in the skies” creates handmade pieces of art with lifelike depictions of the realistic sizes of the babies lost through miscarriage. Mothers are able to add as many babies to the pieces as they have lost and choose multiple hearts or one large heart. The handmade pieces, according to her website, are meant to be memorial items to give those grieving a loss something to hold onto.
2. Plant forget-me-not flowers in your child’s memory.
These seed packets from Gloria’s Garden allow loved ones to plant forget-me-not flowers in remembrance of a child who has passed on. The packets can be personalized and come with a beautiful poem to be read aloud as you sow the seeds of remembrance and love.
3. Light a special candle on your child’s birthday.
Recognizing the birthday of a loved one who is longer here can be difficult. This birthday candle from laurelbox was designed to help make that day a little easier. “After someone you love dies, their birthday is a hard day,” explains laurelbox co-founder Johanna Mutz. “You want to remember them, celebrate them, and have some space to commemorate their life. But it’s really hard to come up with a fitting way to celebrate them.”
As such, laurelbox introduced their birthday candle to look like a birthday cake. Parents who have lost a child have used the candle as a way to commemorate their child’s birthday and preserve their memory with siblings.
“On my daughter’s birthday that year, I lit laurelbox’s birthday candle as soon as I woke up that morning,” says Ashley, mom to Annie. “Within seconds, the smell of sweet vanilla was filling our house. I could almost see my daughter sitting before a cake ready to blow out candles. It was easy to imagine her with her blue eyes and blonde hair with balloons and gifts. And for the first time I was able to feel joy. I was able to remember her without heartache. I was able to celebrate her little life.”
4. Display portraits that include the entire family.
Traditional family pictures after loss can pose a challenge. How do you recognize your loss while representing your entire family? The family tree print by A Beautiful Remembrance is a way to honor every family member in a loving way. Everything about these prints — from text to colors — can be personalized. For similar memorial prints by A Beautiful Remembrance.
5. Select a special stuffed animal “stand-in.”
Photographer Nicole Streeter captured the beautiful way parents Ashton and Adam Nell honor their son Deacon, who passed away shortly after his birth. Thanks to a very special stuffed animal “stand-in,” Deacon has a place in his younger brother, Miles’ life. This precious plush elephant has become a way for Miles to have his big brother with him. The Nell family has incorporated elephants into their lives in a variety of ways — from elephant coffee mugs to bringing Miles’ beloved sidekick on vacations and trips.
“To see Miles with his ‘big brother’ gives me peace and comfort,” Nell tells Babble. “It shows the true size of our family, that our love is strong and equal for both of our boys, and that although Miles will never get to meet Deacon, he will always be a part of his life.”
6. Release butterflies as a symbol of hope and life.
Families can plan a special butterfly release memorial to ease the pain of a special date in their grief journey, or as a way to honor and commemorate a passing.
7. Carry a loss charm in remembrance.
These hand-stamped loss charms are a perfect addition to a sibling’s backpack or parent’s key chain to keep a loved one close. From walking the hallways of school to taking a trip together, this tangible reminder of love and remembrance is always there.