Sunday, July 3, 2011

Reinvestments Part 1

When our child dies and we are far enough along in our grief journey, there are many ways for us to remember our child and have others remember also. We call these: REINVESTMENTS. For the next two weeks I am going to share with you some of the reinvestments bereaved parents have made in honor of their children. Perhaps one of these will give you an idea for your child that will bring you some joy, comfort and remembrance of how much their life meant to you. All reinvestments are left anonymous in this blog, but I know of most of them or read about them in different publications and felt they were worth mentioning.

“We adopted miles of highway in our state. A sign indicates it is in the child’s memory. It is cleaned twice a year by family and friends and sometimes just the two of us like to do it ourselves.”

“I speak to various groups about drunk driving and try to get kids to understand the consequences of drinking and driving and how it can destroy lives. If I can get one person to listen to me about being a responsible driver, then I have made a difference. By doing this, I also honor my daughter’s memory.”

“On my son’s birthday each year at the moment he was born, we send colorful helium balloons in the air. His friends come and we all gather together and give thanks that he was in our lives.”

“My son had AIDS. When he died, his friends and I made a patch of his life for the AIDS Memorial Quilt, now housed in San Francisco. I am so proud of the fact that it can be seen by everyone. I participate in AIDS Walk New York every year since he died. We have raised thousands of dollars that goes to help find a cure for this disease.

Some parents have bumper stickers and license plates with their child’s name on them, including the birth and death date and even a saying such as “Loved and Remembered.” There are those that will make and sell them to parents who contact them.

“One of the objects I enjoy in my home is a special lighted hutch. In it are personal belongings from my son. I have a yearbook, his glasses, his license plate, a hand print from first grade, his graduation certificate, photos and many other things that I can look at whenever I feel like it.” Other parents have small boxes in a drawer they keep some personal items from their child.

One father built a church after his son died and painted a mural of his son and other children who had died doing what they enjoyed the most. Some are playing baseball, others dancing, and still others are drawing and painting. Every 20 minutes a guide tells a story of one of the children depicted on the mural. “It is one of the greatest living memorials we could give our child.”

Scholarships abound in schools to honor sons and daughters who have died at any age for any reason. These scholarships are usually named after the child and provide help for those who can not afford to go otherwise.
Golf tournaments to raise money for a cause, buying bricks at baseball stadiums and theaters with the child’s name on them and creating an award in a sport the child was active in…all these are ways to honor your child.

One mother invested in volunteering in memory of her son. Through her efforts and many generous donations, volunteers bag over 1,000 school items for children who can not afford school supplies. There is also a Christmas gift program. “Here is a lady who is an inspiration to many others,” said one admirer. “She took a tragic loss in her life and together with her faith and her love for her son, she has been able to create a better world for so many.”

More reinvestments next week…

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