It is important for a grieving parent and family to remember and acknowledge their child.
Even though your child is not with you physically, the parental feelings of love do not disappear, so mementos play a very important role in the remembering process. It is important for the family to remember that parenthood is not measured by the length of time spent raising a child.
Memory Box: This is a special keepsake box containing objects belonging to, or representing the deceased child, which will provide a lasting record. Many beautiful memory boxes can be purchased online, and can contain many different items.
Suggestions are listed below –
- Birth and Death Certificates
- Pregnancy photos, ultrasound photos and videos
- A pregnancy testing stick
- A lock of hair
- The hospital baby blanket
- Hospital bracelets and medical records
- Handprints and footprints
- A journal and writing pen
- A small stuffed animal that was used in photos
- Pacifiers, baby silverware and a baby bottle
- A baby’s ‘coming home clothes’
- Toys, books and clothing bought for the baby
- Gifts received for the baby
- Write down SMS messaged received
- Sympathy cards and letters and cards from flowers
- The metal nameplate from the coffin if cremated, or if buried, ask the funeral director to make a duplicate nameplate.
- Dried flowers
For Older Children
- First tooth
- Report Cards
- Programmes for plays and recitals
- Recipes of the child’s favourite dishes
- Photos of special occasions and family trips
- Anything that reminds you of a special time in your child’s life
Photos and Video Slideshow: It may be that you feel you will not be able to look at photos in the future, but at least if you feel differently in the future, you won’t regret not having taken them. Take more photos than you think you will need. Also make sure the person taking the photos is familiar with the camera/phone, as only having blurred or poorly presented photos will be a huge disappointment in the future.
Heartfelt, (formerly known as the Australian Community of Child Photographers) is a volunteer organisation of professional photographers from all over Australia. They have come together to form an organisation dedicated to giving the gift of photographic memories to families that have experienced stillbirths, premature and ill infants, and children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units of their local hospitals, as well as children with serious and terminal illnesses. Heartfelt is dedicated to providing this gift to families in a caring, compassionate and heartfelt manner. All services are provided free of charge.
For more information, please visit: Heartfelt.
Shadowbox: A lovely way of displaying baby keepsakes that can’t be glued into a scrapbook, but are too treasured to dispose of, is to place them in a shadow box. You can frame a single item, such as a special newborn bracelet or hat, or assemble a themed collection. Any items can be displayed such as birth certificates, handprints and footprints, and photos.
Handprints and Footprints: Clay impressions of a child’s handprints and footprints can capture their little fingers and toes three-dimensionally complete with wrinkles and detail. The non-toxic clay used can be pre-coloured in pink, blue or white, and can be framed in a small frame or a larger frame to include a photo. Prints can also be done as ‘inkless prints’ in colours of pink, blue or grey for framing or scrapbooks.
Jewellery Prints: Prints can also be preserved in a unique piece of jewellery in solid silver. The jewellery range includes pendants in heart, circle or oval shapes, cufflinks, key-rings, bracelets, bookmarks, and bangles. Depending on the space available, names and date of birth can sometimes be engraved on the jewellery. Also first drawings and doodles can be preserved in solid silver.
Breastmilk and Placenta Jewellery: Mothers can have their pure breast milk preserved in a piece of jewellery including pendants, rings and bracelets. Looking at them it’s not obvious what is contained, leaving it up to mothers to decide whether to explain this unique memento or not.
The placenta symbolizes life, spirit and individuality, and during pregnancy acts as a life source to a baby, providing oxygen & nutrients through the umbilical cord, while also producing hormones necessary for the pregnancy to continue. A jewellery artist can convert the placenta into a keepsake that a mother can treasure. Some of the choices include printing the placenta blood onto canvas, artistic keepsakes such as placenta jewellery, photo frames, dream catchers & other keepsake artistry.
Planting a Tree or Garden: The planting of a tree in memory of a deceased child can provide a lovely place to visit for family and friends. Some families choose to create a special garden for their child, including small statues and a sign with the garden’s name.
Preservation of Flowers: Your flowers can be preserved and framed with options to select presentation layout, frame style & colours to go inside the frame. You can simply have the flowers on their own in the frame or you can include photos and memorabilia.
Memorial Quilts and Wall Hangings: Memorial quilts are simply quilts made in memory of a loved one. Memorial quilts can incorporate baby clothing, photos, blankets and art. Just about anything you can think of that is made of fabric or could be scanned onto a computer can be included in a memory quilt. Alternatively, these items can be made into a wall hanging.
Candles: The lighting of a candle is a symbol of remembrance, and is felt by all those present. It can be lit during the funeral ceremony by one or more family members, and also lit on special occasions as a beautiful sign of remembrance. A personalised memorial candle can add a special touch to the funeral or memorial service, and small replica candles can be made as a gift for guests. Companies offer ready-made designs to choose from or they can customise your chosen design by adding personal photographs.
Some funeral homes will offer a memorial candle as part of their service, although these are plain candles and not usually personalised.
Memorial Websites: Various Memorial Websites found on-line allow families and friends to celebrate the life of a loved one by sharing stories, leaving tributes, compiling photo, audio and video albums in their memory.
An online memorial continues the life story of your loved one with family and friends, wherever they are in the world, at any time.
Individual websites offer various options which may include –
- Pay tribute to your loved one by telling their stories that might otherwise be lost, shared personal tales and reflections.
- Visitors can leave their condolences, messages of support and remembrance
and on some sites light virtual candles and send virtual flowers.
- Add music to play in the background.
- Choose a background theme.
- Invite friends and family to build a memorial together.
- Build a photo album and upload videos.
- Allow visitors to contact you, or stay private.