Updated: Feb 12, 2020
Here are some activity ideas that were inspired by a couple of things:
1. A personal experience of my own
2. A beautiful idea that I came across from one of my Instagram friends!
When I was in the darkest days after my loss, I wanted so badly to be able to love my child in this life the way I had envisioned. It was deeply upsetting that I couldn't. At the same time, I would struggle to be around small children, especially little boys who always reminded me of my son.
One day, in the midst of feeling a lot of anxiety while being around a young boy playing with my daughter at the playground, I decided that I would see what would happen if I just paid attention to him. When I played with him, it was a bit difficult for me, but then again, it felt like something important was happening. Afterwards, when it was time for us to leave, the boy gave me a huge hug. And then it hit me as tears welled up in my eyes: I honored my son through loving this other person. This experience was meaningful on its own, but it actually happened several more times in other scenarios, leading me to feel like my son had been with me the whole time.
Similarly, I came across an Instagram post by Carly @stillaugustsmama, a beautiful mother who posts about her family life, including the loss of her son August, who was born still in May 2018. As Christmas 2019 was approaching, she posted this:
I was struck by the beauty of this tradition.
After loss, when you and your family feel ready, it might be beneficial to discover ways of spreading kindness through good deeds in honor of your sweet baby. Here are some ideas!
Good Deed Outings
If you are going somewhere with your family, you could all agree to do one act of kindness on the outing in honor of the baby. Whenever a chance arises, help out those around you. It can be as simple as smiling at someone. You are the only ones who have to know about the activity. If your family feels hesitant in general about speaking to strangers about the loss, this can be a good way for you to share your baby with others while not broaching the topic itself.
Establish a Good Deed Jar
Choose a special container in which good deeds can be written down and placed inside. Your family can agree on how they would like to organize the activity. You may want to spend the entire month leading up to the baby's date of passing doing good deeds and adding them to the jar, reading them aloud on the "angel-versary." You can do it based around a holiday, like Carly's family does. You may choose to do it throughout the year and have family members privately read the good deeds whenever they feel like it would be helpful to them. Consider what is best for your family, and go for it!
Donate or Volunteer
Consider donating or volunteering in honor of your baby. Donations can sometimes be made in someone else's name, so it can be a special way to remember the baby. While there are many causes that would be great to support, some families find it beneficial to help other families who have experienced loss through their donating and volunteering.
Painting and Hiding Rocks
One thing my daughter loves doing is painting and hiding rocks in local parks. You can do this as a family activity to honor your baby. Paint short, inspiring messages and sweet pictures that remind you of your little one. You can even put your baby's name on them. Visit a park together and have fun hiding the rocks for others to find.
It is important to keep in mind that it is okay if you and your family is not in a place that this activity would be helpful. You don't have to force yourself or individual members of your family to take part in any of these activities if it ultimately doesn't feel right to do for you or them.
However, if you believe that it would be of benefit to do them, I hope that these activities will end up being treasured by your family!