So many families have endured losses no one ever should have to. Stillbirth, pregnancy loss, and the loss of a child is heartbreaking and raw. Personally I’ve never lost one of my own children, but my nephew Drake, who was born on April 30, 2013, was born sleeping. Since that day, I’ve been on a quest to keep his memory alive and honor those babies, children and families who have experienced this kind of loss.
The holidays are an exceptionally rough time for me, as it is for many families. I constantly find myself wondering, what he’d look like in his Christmas pajamas, or thinking what I’d buy him if he were here. I even question whether or not he’d like my newborn baby pigs more than his sisters do.
Or Santa Claus.
Sure, I’m not his mother, and no I haven’t lost a child. Sometimes, I struggle with that too. If you knew my sister and I, and knew how close we are, you may understand a bit more of why I feel the way I do sometimes.
One of the things that helps me cope the most is dreaming of ways to keep his memory alive, and traditions are one of those things for me. Each year when we go out on our annual Christmas tree hunt, we always purchase a small tree to take to the cemetery to decorate. We tuck it in the front of the pickup, near our big tree and I labor over how I’ll decorate it (different color theme each year) for a day or two.
The past two years I’ve done it I’ve ended up with a flat tire or a dead car in the cemetery after I’ve decorated the tree, with the kids.
I think it is my nephew’s way of showing me he’s a practical joker, like his aunt. This year I lost two cousins too, Willy and Mikey and I’d bet they had something to do with it too.
This year, I wanted to add a new tradition to involve more families that want the memory of their child honored on an ornament, on a fir tree, overlooking a pond, in Iowa.
We are going to be writing the names of the children submitted to us on ornaments and hanging them on this fir tree on the other side of the pond, perfectly visible from my favorite kitchen window, and anywhere in our house.
If you would like the name of a child to be put on an ornament, on this tree, please contact me. I’d love to honor their memory. My goal is to keep the memories of more children alive, and to teach my own children how precious life truly is.
To connect and submit a child’s name, find me here: