Updated: Aug 6, 2021
The grief one faces after miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death can feel tremendously heavy. While I knew that nothing could take away my grief entirely, I sought out ways to express that grief creatively. Something that helped me in my grieving process was creating a couple of memorial displays for my babies. And it seems that there are many others who have found this helpful as well. If you have been interested in making one and don't know where to start, take a look at the beautiful displays below. These parents graciously shared their pictures with me on my Instagram (@mysiblingstillbook). I am honored to share them with you.
I want to take a moment and also share my own displays with you. Here is the first.
I found this special picture frame that has two places to insert a photo and can be closed to store on a bookshelf. I was so protective over this ultrasound picture because it is only one of two pictures that I have of my son. I felt the need to keep the picture in a safe place, and this frame was just the thing. It is easy to close and pack if ever I needed to evacuate for a hurricane. (I live in Southeast Louisiana.) I wrote in the memorial information. I also found a quote that resonated with me about my relationship with my son, and I wrote it on the other side.
Here is the second display:
This is my family photo wall. I often felt outside pressure to tuck away remembrances of my babies and therefore to not put any references to them on this family wall. However, I felt incomplete because of it. Zeal to change that overcame me one day, and I created these paintings to represent Eden (miscarried at 4 weeks) and Jessie (miscarried at 12 weeks). The small canvases were only $1 each. I sketched a basic silhouette to show what they looked like in their development at the time they died. Then I painted around the silhouette.
Both of these projects were so impactful to me in my own grief journey. I am naturally creative and turn to art to express myself. It was extremely therapeutic. All of my love and grief went into the creative process and then made something that I can honor my babies with.
If you haven't made a memorial display and are interested in doing so now, I would say to take a look around your house and find one place or more that are well-suited to for the purpose. If you are inclined to create art, then see if there are any aspects of the display that you could make yourself. If you are not naturally drawn to creating art, browse stores and online shops like Etsy to find pieces that are special to you.
If you have any living children, consider if you can invite them into the process. If they are themselves inclined to creative projects, it may be helpful for them to be a part of it as well. For a younger child, that may simply mean showing them two different picture frames you like and asking them to choose their favorite. For an older child, they may appreciate having a larger role.
I did not have my daughter participate with either of these projects because I know that I can get easily stressed when working on something, especially something as meaningful as these displays were. If you know that about yourself, then carving out the time to plan a display in solitude may be a priority for you.
Even if a living sibling does not participate with creating the display, a memorial display can be an excellent place for them to put memorial crafts that they have made. For some ideas for such crafts, check out the tutorials for this pretty butterfly, a little memorial candle, and this simple family tree activity.
I truly hope that this info helps you to create a memorial display that allows you to grieve and honor your precious baby.