What daily rituals do you perform in memory of your baby?
I don’t perform daily rituals.
Do you have a yearly ritual you perform during your child's birthday? If so, what is it?
no, and it’s not that I wouldn’t love to do something, but I would be alone – my husband would not be there with me. I would love to have a memorial garden and light candles and release balloons, but not alone; not with everyone near me thinking I’m crazy. I want to be able to perform rituals without feeling like there is something wrong with me for remembering my child.
Has anyone performed a ritual in your child's honor that has been meaningful to you and why?
on october 15 several facebook friends lit a candle for xavier. It meant the world to me that women I had never met in person would do that for xavier – would remember him when lighting candles for their own losses.
How does your religion, either of just childhood or adulthood or both, honor death? How was your loss honored?
I am a christian and attend a grace brethren church. growing up I attended a united Methodist church, but all the same I am a Christian. We had a memorial service for xavier a couple of weeks after he was stillborn. I set up a table with all the memories and a few families from church came along with my family & andy’s family. my pastor spoke and I kept thinking about the baby girl that had been born to a family in our church earlier that day. mostly I remember that a friend showed up to support me and how good that felt. we honored xavier by having a small memorial service, and then I brought the box of memories home.
for a while I had a small memorial with xavier’s footprints and some other items set up on our cd tower, but I didn’t want to share it with anyone that didn’t share my grief – so I moved it to the bedroom. soon I decided I didn’t want to share it with my husband either or rather my husband didn’t want to be reminded of xavier. so, now the box with all of my memories of xavier sit beside my bed in my bedroom.
Do you feel particularly connected to any time of the year to honor your child?
I feel particularly connected in the fall starting around my birthday (october 9) til thanksgiving. I was so excited that I was going to have a baby close enough to thanksgiving that I would get thanksgiving, christmas, and new year’s off – then he was gone! I was so looking forward to my birthday when I would be incredibly pregnant – but it never happened. I was really looking forward to having a distraction from remembering my granddad passing away the previous year – and I only added to the sadness. I feel more connected because of all the hopes I had before he was born – then he was stillborn and my hopes were dashed! so, I honor xavier inwardly by thinking of him and wearing jewelry that reminds me of him and looking at his pictures. I honor xavier by remembering him.
Do any holidays have any important significance to your grief? If so, how?
xavier was due november 2009, so I would have actually been off work for thanksgiving, christmas, and new year’s (normally I work every other holiday). instead I was at work trying to keep my mind off of my dead son. my granddad died in 2008 and xavier was going to be the bright spot in our holiday season – then he was just another reminder of sadness. so, the holidays are incredibly hard for me.
What are ways in which you perform private rituals for your child? (I mean, talking to him/her in the morning, wishing on a star, or something only you know about, etc.)
I have some jewelry that I wear to remember him. I have a dragonfly ring and a diamond necklace & ring that represents michael, andi, & xavier to me. when I wear the jewelry I think of xavier often.
Have you felt a connection to other cultures and religions and how they deal with death?
Have you incorporated the religious traditions of another culture into your private ceremonies and rituals for your child?
no. I would love to set up a memorial for xavier, but I just don’t feel safe putting my feelings out there right now; not with my husband and knowing how he feels.
Does creating art feel like a ritual to you? If so, could you explain it further?
I don’t think creating art feels like a ritual to me. I create art when I need to get feelings out, but I don’t think it’s a ritual.