Recently, I was looking through some old photos and came across the pictures I’d taken of a little project my husband and I did as a way to honor our daughter, Zuri. With Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month right around the corner, I thought it would be nice to share how we were able to honor our daughter and offer hope to others.

When Zuri’s first birthday was getting close, Derek and I agreed that we wanted to do something to reach out to other grieving parents as way to honor our little girl and the impact she made on our lives. We remembered some of the things that were particularly helpful to us in those initial days and weeks after Zuri died. We decided to create care boxes to donate to the hospital where Zuri was born; we had received amazingly compassionate care and wanted to give back.

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We started a GoFundMe campaign and within the first week, we exceeded our financial goal; it was incredibly touching to see how many of our friends and family (and even some people we didn’t know)  wanted to contribute to our cause.

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The evening of Zuri’s birthday, we assembled the boxes. Each one contained a box of tissues, a lavender candle in a pretty votive, calming tea, a journal, a couple of little snacks, and a gift card to a restaurant (we made sure to choose restaurants where potential parents could either dine in or take out, depending on their needs).

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There was also a beautiful little keepsake necklace or bracelet included, which were generously donated by a fellow loss mom, named Caroline, that I met on a Facebook group. After the loss of her son, Conor, Caroline started Pieces of Hope to honor him. When I posted in the group about idea of things to put in the boxes, Caroline immediately messaged me to say that she wanted to send jewelry for each box. It was so kind of her, and they made a perfect addition to the care boxes.

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Derek and I also composed a letter for the potential parents, sharing our story and offering ourselves if the couple ever wanted to talk with someone who understands the journey they are on. We included a list of resources that we found helpful as well.

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The day after Zuri’s birthday, we took the boxes to the hospital and met with one of the labor and delivery nurses; I had spoken with her over the phone a few times to make sure our donation was okay, and she was so excited to meet us. The boxes were so well received and apparently very needed. Only two months earlier there had been five pregnancy/infant losses- and that was just that one hospital.

Even though our hearts were still grieving the loss of Zuri, and we were in the midst of the emotional roller coaster that is a PAL (Zoe would be born less than a month later), in that moment it felt like I had been part of something that would make my daughter proud. I had done something meaningful and significant, just like Zuri’s life.

Finding these photos was a welcome reminder of how important it is for me to live life the way Zuri would want me to; to spread kindness, love, and hope to others.

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