My Story

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Celebrating Birthdays

As a member of "a-group-no-one-wants-to-be-a-part-of," I have become friends with many other moms who have lost a child. This has been one blessing that God has brought to my life through the short life of our son Riley. Because of my experience, I am able to help other families through a heart-wrenching time.

Today I received an email from one such mom, asking for advice on how to survive what would have been her daughter's first birthday. After responding to her, I thought I'd share my response here as well:

What I tried to do for Riley's first birthday, was to make it a celebration of his life, rather than a sad day.

It helped that my son Ty was born exactly a year later (on the same day), so of course there were mixed emotions. But I didn't want Riley's life to be missed or overshadowed by Ty's. So we had a birthday cake in my hospital room (after delivering Ty) that said Happy Birthday Riley & Ty.

I also had awareness bracelets made with Riley's name on it. And sent them to all my close family & friends and asked them to wear it that day to remember him. And hopefully by them wearing it, someone would ask about him and they'd get to tell his story.

I took balloons to his gravesite and put a big bouquet oh his stone, then tied a single balloon on all the babies sites surrounding him (he's buried in an area designated for babies). So it looked like they were having a little party. I know it's silly, but it made me feel better. I felt like he was being celebrated.

Then on his 2nd birthday (which was Ty's 1st birthday), we had a separate small cake for Riley with a flameless candle on it displayed at the party.

I remember thinking that this could be a very difficult day for me if I let it. So I made a conscious effort to make it a celebration instead. I knew if Riley could see me, he wouldn't want to look down and see his mom sad. He'd be wanting to have a party :)

I hope this helps.

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