I found that a big part of the healing process was memorializing my daughter. I was never one for much sentiment, ritual, and symbolism, but they became very important to me after losing my daughter. Any symbolic gesture became significant, and doing little things - lighting candles, releasing balloons, planting flowers, writing poems, etc. took on new meaning for me. As I look back, I did quite a few things to memorialize Abigail. And those things started at and even before her birth. Here are some ideas of memories you can create with your baby.
After losing Abigail to Edwards Syndrome, one of the first things I did was to create this website. I had never even made a simple site, but it became very important to me to create a site for her. It got more and more involved and more and more sophisticated as I learned about search engines and basic html. The fulfillment I get from touching people with Abigail's story and providing encouragement to them is amazing. Every time someone is helped by her story, it is yet another thing done in her memory.
I also spent a lot of time working on scrapbooks for Abigail. Always an avid scrapbooker, it became almost an obsession for me to put her pictures with my journal of her life. I think her scrapbooks are another beautiful memorial to her life. Later I put together a video / photo show to music and had it put onto DVD by Jennifer at Video Creations, who did a fast, excellent job on it. Both of those help to share her with those I love who never really got to meet her.
Anniversaries also become very significant. The anniversary of the amnio, the diagnosis, every event became meaningful - and often painful. I really needed to celebrate her first birthday, and so we planned a party. I wrote several poems and our family held a picnic on her playground and released balloons in her honor. We kept it small because we had already done the dedication with a large group, but in retrospect, I would have liked to have had a few more people. I have shared some pictures and poems from our party for Abigail's first birthday.
Second Birthday, it was very important to me to remember and honor her, but we did it differently. We wanted to do something fun as a family while remembering her. It didn't turn out quite as planned, but was still a day to celebrate her life.
At various stages, I have found Poetry and Music to be comforting. some was written by others, and I found that it was helpful for me to write some as well.
The Trisomy 18 Support Foundation site has a Memorial Page for supporting the work of the foundation in honor of our precious babies. This is a way that friends and family can remember these children for anniversaries, holidays, and other times when having our child remembered means so much.
There are many, many other ways to memorialize your baby, but the important thing is to make memories and to do whatever you feel you need to do.