Ways to Remember
I have a very strong memory of those early days and that feeling of empty arms. Feeling lost, hollow, that an enormous part of me was missing . . . . . . which it was. It is in these early days that having something tangible to hold, touch or see, is so important. So many of these ideas would work for any loved one you have lost.
The shadow of the anniversary looms long before the day itself; the experience of my friends and I is that the build up is worse than the day itself.
People do many different things on their babies anniversaries (or angelversaries, as they are also known). Some have a birthday party with a cake, some buy a small present for their baby, some release a balloon, some visit the grave, some go out and do something positive, some visit the Hospital Chapel to read the Book of Remembrance.
However we choose to honour our babies memory, there is no right or wrong way. We all remember, we all take time to reflect and mourn.
Making a Memory Garden
I've always loved Magnolias and it
seemed right to buy one for Philip and Magnolia Stellata flowers in
March, Philip's birth month.
We planted it outside the kitchen where I could look at it whenever I wanted and see it close by. It has come with us to our new home. It gave and still gives me comfort; it is somewhere to connect and reflect. Watching it grow, bud and flower each year, whilst it marked the passing time, also helped me realise that I too had survived another year travelling through my grief.
You don't need a big area to pay tribute to your baby, a pot or window box would do. A special plant, some seeds, something scented – the choice is endless as to what you could put there to make it personal to you. If you have the space you could consider planting a tree.
If you don't have a garden maybe you could plant a tree somewhere else or pay for a tree to be planted in your baby's memory.
To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow ~ Audrey Hepburn
Making a Memory Area
If you don't have a garden, you could create a memory area in your home. Find a peaceful area, you could add a photo, special candle, ornaments, toys. You could keep this memory area all year or just for your baby's anniversary.
With thanks to my lovely friend Lucie for the use of her photograph showing baby Skye's special area
Create a keepsake scrapbook; a place to store all your memories, something beautiful to make and treasure.
There is so much choice today to help you create one, use your photos, hand and footprints, pregnancy scans and your own thoughts.
Shadow Box Frame
Fill a shadow box with different items to create a unique remembrance frame. Read Hannah's blog to see how she created her beautiful shadow box in memory of Lily.
To buy - search for shadow box frames or have one made at a local framing shop or buy here (search Amelie Keepsake Box Frame, they ship to the Channel Islands for standard postage cost).
With thanks to Hannah for the use of her photo showing baby Lily's beautiful shadow box frame
Have a keepsake animal or quilt made out of baby's clothes or blanket. A little something to hold tight and cuddle. If, like us, you only have a few precious items, maybe just use one item of clothing and make up what you need using other fabric.
www.beanfrock.co.uk is a Jersey company that can make personalised items from your fabric.
With thanks to Beanfrock for use of the photo of the memory cuddly.
Lockets, necklaces, keychains, cufflinks, dogtags – there is much to choose from. Some ideas - your child's birthstone or handcrafted jewellery with initials stamped on, hand/footprints etched onto jewellery.
Memorial jewellery suppliers (I have not had any personal dealings with any of these companies. This is just a selection and there are many more on the web and the likes of Etsy.com.)
Angelsmeadow.co.uk (set up by a SANDS Mum and Dad)
The Memory Tree (set up a bereaved Mum and Dad, supporting Aidan's Elephants)
Alexandra's Angel Gifts (set up by a bereaved Mum and Dad)
My photo of my necklace "Love you to the moon and back" and my children's names
Buy a Christmas ornament to hang on
the tree or put on your mantel.
Light a special candle.
Some other ideas
Have you child's name written in the sand and photographed – if you're in Jersey / Guernsey you could do this yourself.
Have their photo retouched to not show feeding and breathing tubes or to reduce discolouration and bruising
Make a donation to a charity related to your child's cause of death
Participate in a local walk/run for an organisation that raises money and awareness for your child's cause of death
Keep an angel statue in your house near their picture
Write a poem or story about your child, or to your child
Write a letter to your child
Light a special candle
Have a star named after your child
Get a tattoo, it could be foot/handprints, a name and date of birth, butterfly, star......
PLEASE - don't release balloons. They endanger both animals and our environment both on the island and in the sea. Thank you.
There are also some wonderful e-shops with many many wonderful ways to remember your baby, set up by bereaved parents, as I come across them I will add more.
And now I've done this list, I've found a link to a wonderful American e-book which says it all so much better than me!