Experiencing the death of a child is one of the most difficult and traumatic events in life. The hole that the child or baby leaves in your heart is so big it feels like you will never be able to be whole again. That feeling is normal and is part of the grieving process. It doesn’t usually help to know that intellectually. How can a person get from feeling overwhelmed and empty by the loss of a child in a way that will help them heal? One way that has helped many over the years is to find a way to memorialize the death of the child in a personal way that ministers to your heart. The ways to memorialize a lost child will vary greatly depending on your culture, the child, and your family traditions. Below are a few ideas on how to memorialize a child to help in your healing journey. This list is sorted into personal and more public ways to memorialize your child.
Create an album of items that help you remember: ultrasound pictures, school work, birth announcement, birthday cards, etc.
A locket with a picture of the child or a piece of the child’s hair
A collection that represents moments or favorites in the child’s life: teddy bears, matchbox cars, angels, one birthday figurine per year of life, a special rock collection with a new rock added each year on the child’s birthday, etc.
Framed footprints and pictures
Get a tattoo that honors the child
Plant a tree or flowers in your yard or a place special to you and your child
Create a memorial video of your child
Keep a journal that you write in regularly to your child
Create a memorial shadow box with items special to you and your child
Establish a memory walk or run in honor of your child
Establish a foundation or activity to support an agency that researches and helps children with the same or similar diagnosis of your child
Collect and donate books or toys to the child’s school
Create a memorial at the child’s school such as a quiet sitting spot, a play area, plant a tree or a garden
Release balloons yearly on the child’s birthday
This is just a small list of ways to help you remember your child. Here are some links to other articles about memorializing your lost child.
When a Child Dies: Memorials that Heal
Memorializing Your Baby or Child
Ways to Honor Your Baby in Heaven
Only you will know the best way to remember your child. It is important to recognize that there is no right way or wrong way to grieve and to remember. Hopefully, these ideas will give you some help in sorting out what you can do to best remember your special child and to help you through your short-term and long-term grieving process. It is never too late to create a memorial to your child whether it is right after the funeral or if it is five or ten years later. Honoring your child is always healing.