Friday, May 14, 2010

Way's you can honor a loved one who has died.

(Note; today's post is for Sara.....I hope you can do something special in honor of your beautiful baby boy to ease your pain....even if its just a little. x)

Have you ever been on a roller coaster when all of a sudden you panic, you want to get off...but you can' feel scared, there's nothing you can do.....your body is engulfed in fear and it seems like YOU aren't in control anymore....that's what grief feels like to me!

One way that helped me control my grief was to find ways to honor those I've lost in a memorable way.  Doing this created some sense of purpose amongst the chaos that followed each of my losses.....that I was in control of at least something in my life. 

There are many ways you can remember a loved one, the following are just some I've done but may help give you some idea's to help bring you comfort and a feeling of purpose amid your suffering.

For Tarnia, my sister, I asked the funeral director to cut off four locks of her shiny brown hair....I tied each one in a blue satin ribbon for her children.  When they are older, they will have something physical of their mother....especially her twin girls, who never knew her.  I also cut Savannah's hair into a bob before they took her.  I have her golden curls carefully hidden away and don't have the courage to take it out and run my fingers through it....but I will one day....most importantly it's hers, and I'm glad I kept it.

We also planted a cherry blossom tree for Tarnia, one that would bloom around the time of her anniversary each year.

My favourite photo of Savannah taken two months before she died

For my adored Mom, I took her favorite lilac silk shirt and gave it to Dempsey as a security blanket.  Dempsey still has what remains of it today on her bedside table, its ragged and dirty but reminds me of Mom!  I wear her engagement ring with pride and her picture sits where I can see it everyday.....I am able to smile now when I look at it.

And for our angel Savannah, there are so many things I did, and do and will continue to as a legacy to her time here with us.  Because of her death, I'm an Ambassador to The Make A Wish Foundation and volunteer at The Let It Be Foundation....these are other things you can do.  But where to start with Savannah...I guess a few days after she died.......

Savannah's life...and death...had a profound effect on alot of our special family in particular honored her in such a unique way.  The day after she died a huge cardboard box was delivered to our door amongst all the floral bouquets.....inside were two golden frames from the International Star Registry.  Our friends named a star in Savannah's honour.....its impossible to describe in words the comfort that fills my heart when I look up in the heavens at night knowing there's a twinkling star named after our precious girl.

Savannah was cremated, I couldn't bear the thought of not having her in our home so as morbid as this may sound to some, she sits in a princess urn, on a special shelf Peter created in our family room, where I can pick her up and still hold her.......amongst Dempsey's toys and drawings and mess and noise and visitors that come into our home.

I searched everywhere for a special candle for her shelf, which is pink with rainbow glass.  I light it and it brings me peace as I feel her spirit is present......its almost buried now in angel figurines, cards and other special special gifts friends have kindly given me. 

However the thing that brings me the most comfort is my gold locket I wear everyday.  You see the locket to other people is just a piece of jewellery, but to me its healing and meaningful as it is a tiny urn that holds some of her ashes.  I feel that a part of her hangs over my heart always....she goes with Peter, Dempsey and me wherever we are.

                                                                  Savannah's shelf

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we planted a rose bush and other families I know have created glorious gardens where they can sit peacefully and contemplate.  A friend that lost her little girl had teddy bears sewn for her two daughters out of her angel's clothing....her remaining girls get so much comfort out of these.

There's quilts and cushions that can be made from clothing, special photo frames, scrapbooking, jewellery and plaster casts........all these wonderful treasures that can immortalize the person you miss so much.

And the final one I did for Savannah, that was so personal and hurt so much, one I also carry with me where nobody else can see it...its just for me in memory of our daughter...a tiny butterfly tattoo!

So I hope some of these things I've done can give you some ideas and bring you comfort and meaning as you travel on your journey and empower you to feel in control, somehow.  I know my collection isn't finished, and never will be........

Wishing you sunshine if your cup is blue today! :) x


  1. Thank you for thinking of me. It's good to feel as if I'm not alone. I also have a few things so far to remember my beautiful son. I have a tattoo in honor of him. It's a picture of a sleeping angel because that is the last time I saw him alive. I have a locket with his picture in it that I wear every day. I am also looking forward to Memorial day. Jameson's name will be engraved on a memory bench at the Henry Vilas zoo.
    With love,

  2. Hi Sara,

    What a beautiful way to memorialize your baby boy, that is so special and will touch alot of people that visit the bench...what a wonderful idea!

    I hope you continue to find ways to remember your little one that can bring you comfort and some sort of meaning.

    Sending a hug in this message...I was thinking of you on Mother's Day!
    Diana x

  3. Hi Diana,
    You always have a special place in my heart. You were one of the first I connected with after my son was diagnosed with MLD. For some reason the connection felt deep for me, I was so, so raw then. We almost lost my son this April so I was trying to get my hands around funeral planning and I really want to cremate him too, for the same reason. I want him with me always. Thanks for making me feel sane!

  4. Dear Susan,

    Thank you for leaving your lovely comment, it inspires me to keep writing...I am guessing you are Jonathons mom?? or maybe not :)

    I'm sorry to hear you almost lost your son, I remember those days with Savannah...its hard I know.

    Susan, when the time comes you will know whats right for you to do as far as remembering our loved is such a personal choice that no-one can really judge another....I get so much comfort from having Savannah here with us, even though I have had one ignorant person tell me my shelf is morbid and like a shrine...but as you know, we grow a pretty thick skin after having cared for a child with I'm glad I've helped you confirm what you already knew.

    Please give your beautiful boy a kiss on the forehead from a mommy that miss her little one.

    sending love and hope for good days ahead for you all
    Diana x

  5. Dear Diana,
    thank you for your comment on my blog! I am so thankful that my post encouraged you... just very thankful. That is one of the reasons I am on here. I will be praying for you!
    ~Happy Mother's Day!!~
    Isaiah 40:26-31

  6. P.S. I absolutely LOVE the picture of the rainbow on your header! Wow!! Beauty through the storm... God's grace and love are so amazing.

  7. Thank you Charity for your thoughts and wishes. I'll forward to checking in on your wise words and blessings!
    Wishing you sunshine today :)
    Diana x

  8. (((((((((HUGS)))))))))

    Thanks for sharing with us.

  9. Dear mellenhclimb,

    I'm so sorry for your loss of the love of your life....I hope my journey can bring you hope. Your poems are beautiful!!

    Thanks for the (((HUGS))) they are my favorite!
    Diana :)

  10. Very amazing article, such a wonderful idea to do for your loved ones. Thank you for sharing!

  11. hello!~ i came across your article while trying to come up with ways to honor the president of our company (and dear friend to all of us who worked here) and wanted to say thank you! we will be honoring our beloved art next week and i found your article to be so beautiful, especially as a new mother to my mabel. hugs and love to you! thank you
    clare k.

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