Now that I am a bereaved parent I have discovered a variety of things that people do to offer love, support, and healing to other parents. It's amazing all of the things that go on that you just have no idea about, until you're part of the group too.
As I mentioned before, my sister-in-law, Magen, gave me a necklace with Luke's name and his birthstone that she ordered from an Etsy seller. Even though it wasn't created by someone particularly for bereaved parents, it is a simple and lovely piece of jewelry to have to honor Luke.
And my sister-in-law, Maryanne, gave me a lovely Christmas ornament made by an Etsy seller and mother of a stillborn baby (who tells her story here).
Another mother of angel babies, informed me of Molly Bears. The creator of Molly Bears, Bridget, lost her baby, Molly, because of a true knot in her cord (the same thing that took Luke's life). She created a stuffed animal that was the same weight has her daughter. She found comfort in having something tangible to hold when her arms were empty and aching. She now makes weighted bears and sends them to hundreds of bereaved families. Stuffed animals aren't really my thing, so I didn't order one for myself, but I think it's great for those that can find comfort in it.
I discovered Christian's Beach through a link on another bereaved parent's blog. Carly's son, Christian, was stillborn. She now offers a beautiful service of photographing your deceased child's name in the sand at sunset. You can read more about why she started doing this on her website. She does it for free unless you want the rights to print the picture or post it anywhere (blog, Facebook, etc.). The $25 charge or donation goes towards care packages in hospitals. I thought that this was a beautiful thing. I loved that she would do it just for Luke and continue to give with the money that I gave her. I love sunsets and her beach pictures are simply astounding. I liked the idea of having something lovely to represent our son who isn't currently with us. I decided to add this photo to our wall of photos in our living room.
I have also discovered Sue-Ella Signature Designs through Christian's Beach. Sue-Ella makes handmade custom jewelry. You can choose to have things put inside --like ashes, sand, a locket of hair (not really my thing)-- or have hand or feet prints etched or imprinted in the jewelry. I think the hand and feet prints are so sweet. I have a fear of something happening to the little ink prints we have of Luke's hands and feet. Maybe if they were put in metal I wouldn't worry as much about them getting accidentally destroyed. I think I'd like to order a piece of Sue-Ella's jewelry, but it's a little more expensive and I haven't decided exactly what I'd like. I do like the sweet angel wings even though I don't believe angels actually have wings.
I'm sure there are so many other services and things available to families that have lost babies or children. I love that people that have suffered have found a way to reach out to others to offer love, support, comfort, and healing. I've had some thoughts on something I could do to continue to give, but haven't come to anything conclusive yet.
A thanks to the time, energy, and love given to those in need. This world is a beautiful place filled with caring souls and kind hearts.