IMPORTANT DATES

AND HOLIDAYS

Holidays and important dates such as your baby's due date, birthday, or Heaven day can be difficult milestones to face in your grieving journey. Feeling unprepared for what you'll do on these days or for the overwhelming emotions that will surface can be anxiety-provoking in the days and weeks leading up to these monumental days.

From my own experience after losing Bridget, I've found that celebrating Bridget's life on these difficult days and holidays has helped me in my sadness. On holidays and her birthday (and every day in between), I don't want her to look down from Heaven on her family mourning her in a hopeless depression. I want her to see us celebrating her life and rejoicing for the hope we have to see her again for eternity! By remembering her and having special traditions on these days, I am able to mourn her while at the same time experiencing peace and hope. I pray that some of these ideas might do the same for you. Please know I'm sending you big hugs and lots of love and prayers.

BIRTHDAYS / HEAVEN DAYS

  • Birthday Party

    Every year on Bridget's birthday, we invite our family and closest friends to a "celebration of life" birthday party for Bridget. I decorate our dining room with decorations that I use each year (a fabric banner for the table, a burlap name bunting, angel wings, her Molly bear, a few pictures of her, and some of the clothes and shoes we had bought for her). We get a cake and decorate with balloons we later release at her grave. It's a special time for our family to reflect on her life and celebrate her place in our family.

  • Cake

    Bake or buy a cake to honor your baby's birthday/Heaven Day. You can make it angel or Heaven-themed, or any other theme that is symbolic to you for your baby in Heaven (e.g., nursery or color theme). If you have living children, you could let them participate by choosing (or helping you bake) a cake they would like to have for their brother or sister in Heaven. For us, having a cake for Bridget is a special tradition that symbolizes that she is just as much a part of our family as everyone else who gets a cake on their birthdays throughout the year.

  • Release balloons to Heaven on your baby's birthday/Heaven Day. Invite friends and family, or have a private release with just you and your spouse or immediate family.

     

    You can release balloons at your home, at your baby's cemetery, at a park, or anywhere that is symbolic to you. Write a note to your baby on the balloon in permanent marker or attach a handwritten letter on a piece of paper or card to the balloon string. If you're having friends and family participate, everyone could write their own letters on their balloons. Take photos of the release to save as a memory!

  • Each year I enjoy making a custom bouquet of flowers to bring to Bridget's grave. Though the gift is for Bridget, the act of choosing the flowers has always been healing to me. I pick out flowers that are life-giving and hope-filled to me. The florist helps me arrange the flowers in a flat bouquet so that it can sit nicely on the ground. The flowers are wrapped in decorative paper and a bow.  I also like to include a small birthday balloon. Bringing the flowers and seeing them at her grave is always peaceful and healing to me.  If your baby does not have a grave, you could prepare a bouquet to put in a vase in your home or underneath a tree in your yard.

Balloon Release

Flower Arrangement

  • Paint Rocks

    We have a family tradition every year of painting memorial rocks for Bridget. It started with just Matt and I painting the rocks for Bridget's first birthday into Heaven, and we have continued the tradition every year. Now we include our son (Bridget's little brother) in the tradition and he loves to participate. We paint the rocks in her colors and decorate them with glitter. We spray them with a glossy or matte acrylic sealer after the paint has dried to protect them from the elements outside. It's something special that we do as a family a few days before her birthday. Then once they're painted, we decorate her grave with them.

  • Decorate Grave

    Each year for her birthday we do a deep cleaning of Bridget's headstone. We bring a bucket of soap and water, a cleaning brush, and scrub down all the mementos on top of her grave too (crosses, angels, etc). We pull weeds and make everything look all pretty and replace the faux flowers in her vase. Once everything is cleaned, we decorate around her headstone with the rocks we've painted and lay her birthday flowers on top of her grave. As a bereaved mother, having her grave clean and beautiful for her birthday has been something that has brought me so much peace.

  • Acts of Kindness

    One of the best ways to honor and celebrate your baby's life is to help others! Make or download random acts of kindness cards with your baby's name and give to family members and friends to pass out as they spread kindness. Post about it on social media and see if others will join you. On Bridget's birthday, we took these "B" cookies in memory of Bridget to the labor & delivery nurses at the hospital where she was born. Other ideas include: bringing treats to firefighters or police officers, paying for someone's Starbucks order or groceries, buying toys or clothes for a local children's home, or making a donation to a charity in memory of your baby. For a list of 101 more ideas, visit here.

  • Candlelight Vigil

    Gather family and have a small candlelight vigil in memory of your baby, or simply light a candle in your home.

     

    The photo above is a candlelight vigil we had in memory of Bridget with our immediate families. We met at her grave at sunset and lit candles after it got dark. It was a special moment for us.

     

    You could also use LED candles or put solar-powered garden lights (with stakes) around your baby's grave. There are many different options for solar-powered cemetery lights including crosses, flowers, angels, and butterflies.

DUE DATE

  • Flower Fridays

    Take flowers to their grave every week on a specific day until their due date. I chose Fridays because it was the day I was supposed to be another week pregnant. I brought the bump stickers that I had bought for my pregnancy with her, and took pictures of these stickers next to the flowers I brought for that week. It was an important part of my grieving during that season between her birth and her due date (she was born at 24w5d). I called these days "Flower Fridays" and I would save a few flowers from the bouquet I took to Bridget each week to keep at home to remind me that we were always together. You could also choose to go once a month on the day of the month your baby was born. If your baby wasn't buried at a cemetery, you could choose to pick or buy flowers to keep in your home to uplift your soul and remind you of your baby each week.

  • Release Balloons

    Invite friends and family, or have a private balloon release with just you and your spouse or immediate family. You can release balloons at your home, at your baby's cemetery, at a park, or anywhere that is symbolic to you. Write a note to your baby on the balloon in permanent marker or attach a handwritten letter on a piece of paper or card to the balloon string. If you're having friends and family participate, everyone could write their own letters on their balloons.

    Seeing the balloons float toward Heaven is a beautiful moment of release and surrender. I have always found balloon releases to be healing and peaceful. Alternatives to balloon releases: plant a memorial tree, garden, or flowers, light a candle, paint rocks, or blow bubbles.

  • Write in Cards

    One of the things that made me sad about Bridget's due date was that this was when (had she been born healthy and on time) that we would have received "welcome" and "congrats" baby cards from our friends and family. I had always looked forward to this and felt so sad that no one would be sending these cards after she was born.

     

    So on her due date, my husband and I picked out cards and wrote letters to her inside. We wanted to celebrate and welcome her in our own way. We wanted to remember her due date and the way we felt. And we still do this every year on her birthday too. We buy her birthday cards and write her letters inside. I love this little tradition we have between the two of us. We keep all the cards in her keepsake box.

  • Get a Tattoo

    When I was pregnant with Bridget, we would always find her heartbeat on the doppler in the exact same spot on my lower right side of my tummy (just below my pant line). On her due date, I chose to get a tattoo of her right handprint on that exact same spot on my body. It was my first and only tattoo, but for some reason, I just felt convicted that I wanted her handprint to be physically printed on my body forever. I wanted a daily physical reminder of her life and the time she spent in my womb.

    Getting a tattoo is a big decision and it's not for everyone. I recommend you prayerfully consider the decision over the course of several months to make sure it's something you really want to have forever. There are many different tattoo options for memorializing your baby with a tattoo (e.g., footprints, baby's name, date of birth, angel wings, or some other design that is symbolic to you).

CHRISTMAS

  • Christmas Cards

    Include your baby's name on your Christmas card. As you can see in the photo above, we have chosen to include Bridget's name on our cards year after year. Bridget is a part of our eternal family and we want friends and family to remember her.

     

    If you're uncomfortable listing your baby's name, you could take your family photos for your Christmas cards while holding a special memorial item to show your baby's presence in your family (e.g., a Molly Bear, stuffed animal, picture frame, etc). 

  • Stockings

    Hang a stocking for your baby in Heaven on your mantle with the rest of your family's stockings. Etsy has many different shops that offer personalized Christmas stockings. You can have your baby’s name embroidered on a special stocking or just their initials or monogram. We asked a shop to make a custom stocking to be the same length as Bridget at birth (13 inches; far right stocking in photo above). If you're celebrating Christmas with extended families, consider bringing a stocking or asking if they'd be sensitive to include one for your baby in Heaven. We're fortunate that both Matt and I's families have a stocking for Bridget that they hang every year and it means so much to us.

  • Ornaments

    Place a memorial ornament for your baby in Heaven on your family Christmas tree.

     

    There are various Etsy shops that offer remembrance Christmas ornaments in memory of your baby in Heaven. We have several ornaments for Bridget on our tree, including her initial B, engraved ornaments with her name and Heaven day, and wooden block ornaments printed with pictures of her, and also of us holding her on the day she was born. We got these PhotoBlock ornaments from PhotoBarn.

  • Christmas Tree

    Decorate a special Christmas tree just for your baby in Heaven. If your baby is buried in a cemetery or other place near you, consider decorating this place with a small Christmas tree. Each year, my friend Casey (Jack's Mommy) and I decorate our babies' graves with a "table-top" real tree. We use solar-powered Christmas lights that stake in the ground so that their trees light up at night. You could also purchase a small artificial tree that stays in a special place in your home. Decorate the memorial tree with sentimental ornaments (e.g., with their name, initial, or special colors). Keep the decorations in a special box and save it to be used year after year.

More Resources

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    Memorial Ideas

    Are you looking for ways to memorialize your baby in Heaven as a way to remember them on a daily basis? 

    From her own experience after losing Bridget, Ashley shares practical ideas to honor your baby in your home and daily life. These ideas will fill your heart and home with the memory of your baby and the hope you have to see them again in Heaven. Not only will they serve as precious reminders of your baby's life, they will uplift your soul and aid in your healing journey.

  • Grieving & Healing

    From her own experience after losing Bridget, Ashley shares practical ideas that she found helpful in her grieving and healing journey.

    Ideas include: writing letters to your baby, journaling, praying, crying, and talking about your baby. Ashley also recommends going to counseling, attending support groups, and connecting with other bereaved mothers. A list of ways to heal through helping others is also shared.

  • Bridget's Tree (10).jpg

    Caring for families

    Do you have a friend or family member who lost a baby?

     

    We offer practical ideas on how to support them during the first few weeks after their loss. We also share ideas on how to support them in the months and years that follow.

     

    Acknowledging their loss, remembering their baby, and helping them through their grief will mean more to them than you could ever know.

  • Quotes & Bible Verses

    A list of quotes and Bible verses to offer hope and healing for families who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss. 

  • Recommended Books

    We recommend the following books which are focused on providing hope and

    healing after the loss of a baby.

  • Helpful Resources

    A list of organizations and websites focused on providing healing to families grieving the loss of a baby. We hope you find support & encouragement here.

Contact

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info[at]bridgetscradles.com

 

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