March 4, 2010

Family Photos

Taking new family photos after the loss of a child can be a very difficult time. The child's physical absence is often found to be additionally painful when a family is left with what they may feel like is an "incomplete" family photo. There are ways, however, that we can still represent our child's memory in a photo in order to make it the best photo it could possibly be given the circumstances. Read on to see how we have handled this situation in own families.

City Mom

Ethan was blessed with a very large family and a ton of super sweet little cousins who love him so very much. For my Mother's birthday the year after his passing, we wanted to take a few photos of his cousins together to provide to her and, of course, our little Ethan's presence was missed dearly at this time. We decided to include a photo of Ethan with his cousins as a way to represent him in the photo. Needless to say, my Mother loved the photo and the gesture made to include Ethan. It made what would have been a sad day for us as his parents, a bit more gratifying in knowing that his memory was honored. After all, we all love and miss him so much, so it just felt right to do so.
Also, Ethan had a stuffed little dog that he would often snuggle with that my husband and I named "Brewster". It was his favorite and is a tangible item that reminds us of our son greatly. We have taken photos of our son Quinn with little Brewster as well, and whenever we see those photos we smile of the sweet reminder of our son Ethan which has been included in the photo.

I remember the painful realization after Ethan's passing that there would never be a new photo of him again -- Ever. That realization hurt beyond measure. After time, however, I was able to appreciate these photos which included his memory as something "new" - although they could never compare to a real new photo of Ethan, we were still able to make the best out of the situation by honoring his sweet memory ...and that, in itself, is a wonderful feeling.

Country Mom

I have always been a bit obsessed with taking photos, but when it came time to do the new family photo with our newest little guy- I found it to be a stumbling block. I didn't want to move forward with a new picture and replace the family photo we had of us with Lila. Instead, I wanted to display one right beside it with some sort of tribute to her included in it.

I talked it over with my family, and we came up with the idea that Maddie could wear an angel pin to represent her sister. She was so proud to display the pin on her shirt and showed the pictures off to everyone saying, "Look! The angel pin is for Lila!" That was another one of the moments post-loss that made me realize how important it was to keep Lila's memory alive for her brothers and sisters. In a way, it shows the children how important they really are to us. I have heard people's stories of other families who think it's best to "put the past away" and "move on" and they put away everything that would remind them of the sadness of losing a child. But, as Wendi touched on in an earlier post, we have decided for us and our families that the best thing is to remember and rejoice. Our time on Earth is short, our life in Heaven- eternal! We may not have those beautiful babies with us here on Earth, but when we get to our next and final life they will be there! We know it will be a beautiful reunion, and until then we'll keep on trying to find the beauty in life by keeping their memories alive and making new ones.
Our first family photo after Lila's passing. Maddie is proudly displaying her angel pin in honor of her sister.

This photo brought tears to my eyes, it's our youngest, holding a photo of his dear big sister, Lila.

Do you have a special way that you've honored your baby? If you want to share, we'd love to hear from you! Feel free to leave your email or story in our comment box :)

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