Sunday, July 10, 2011

Reinvestments Part 2

This is the second part of what kind of Reinvestments bereaved parents make when working through the grief process after the death of their child. (See part 1 below from last week.)

A father set up a library at his son’s school with books dealing with crisis such as death of a child, death of a parent, divorce…books that would be suitable to kids, teachers, administrators and parents. This way others could see how to deal with these situations.

Because one mother saw how she and other parents were treated at a hospital after the death of their child, they realized the medical community didn’t have a clue as to how to treat these bereaved parents. An after-care program in a trauma center was started so the medical community could understand how people grieve, how long it takes and how to help with different emotions such as guilt or anger. The program is now very popular all over the country. Workshops and lectures for professionals and training volunteers, who in turn help families make their journey easier, is the goal of this program.

Parents who travel a lot always find a beautiful cathedral and light a candle in memory of their child. One father was even able to light incense in his son’s memory at a Buddhist Monastery in China.

Others, who excel in music, do special presentations in honor of their deceased child. Some parents release balloons and butterflies on anniversaries. Others wear bracelets with sayings on them such as “Forever in my heart.”

One parent, an artist, launched a non-profit web site to provide a one-stop national resource for those who wish to commemorate a deceased loved one through art. The art work could be a quilt, portrait, mixed media or sculpture done by the artist of the child.

A mother decided to start an angel garden with flowerbeds in her daughter’s memory. For years, each time a child died in one of the support groups she started she would add an angel for that child, take a picture of the area, and send it to the parents. She only stopped 18 years and 250 plants later, when she ran out of room on her property.

Making a memorial site online for your child is something many parents have done, uploading pictures and adding text telling their child’s story. Many are creatively done with many attractive graphics on the pages. You don’t have to be computer savvy to do one, and many of the sites are free.

One mother, who knew her son loved animals, spends some of her time as a trail guide at the local zoo. She also supports the care of Sumatra tigers there.

I have done many reinvestments to honor my daughter, such as scholarships, a memorial plaque around the building where she worked, memorial bricks around theaters and stadiums, a plaque and tree at the school I taught at, and a drama building in her name at a summer camp, sponsored by her best friend. But my proudest accomplishment is writing two books on surviving grief to help bereaved parents and dedicating the books to her memory. I always knew I’d write a book, but never did I dream it would be about her life and dedicated to her. Through writing I, as well as others, try to help others in any way we can.

Finally, passing legislation to assure risky behavior that killed their child does not happen again, getting involved with a grief organization or starting one yourself, naming buildings in honor of the child, and educating people through school programs are some of the other reinvestment ways parents work through their grief, while never forgetting the child they loved so dearly.


  1. edenriverstudio@yahoo.comJuly 13, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    I have never before thought of lighting a candle... what a beautiful idea.

    Thank you for the work you do. My grief journey is lonely, and its nice to come across some who understands.

  2. Thank you for this post. =)

    And to enenriverstudio, everyone's grief journey is lonely but we don't have to walk it alone.