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The story of our precious little girl's 17 months of life with Trisomy 18 (July 4, 2010 - December 15, 2011) and of us, re-learning to live "after Lilly."
"I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ...." Psalm 139:14

Memory Ideas

My daughter Tabitha and I especially seem to find a lot of comfort in doing memory projects, to work through our grief.  They are therapeutic and the results satisfying, even if some tears are shed along the way.  Our whole family loves having Lilly reminders in just about every room of the house.

Perhaps some of these memory ideas, may inspire you!  Note that as I wrote this, I found myself writing it with children in mind simply because that is my focus.  But most, if not all, of these ideas could be used in memory of spouses or anyone else.

Decorated tree: Hands down, our favorite "memory idea" is our "Lilly tree".  Shortly before Lilly died, I bought her a four-foot artificial Christmas tree.  She had been enjoying our regular Christmas tree so much, I wanted her to have one of her own to be able to look at year round.  She died 10 days before that Christmas.  I decided to keep the tree and the idea.  It is decorated and up year round.  We plug in the lights every morning, and unplug them before bed.  Each month of the year has a different theme, and we decorate the tree accordingly.  My children and I make most of the ornaments.  The date we prefer to change decorations is the 4th of every month, in honor of Lilly being born July 4.  (See pictures of the first time we decorated the tree here. You can click on the label "Lilly's tree" to see pictures of the other months.)  There are a few other families I know that have memory trees like this.  Some decorate seasonally and others leave the same decorations up year round. I've seen a couple different versions of trees.  I think one family even uses a large, live plant.

Garden:  A special garden is a wonderful thing to grow.  Our "Lilly garden" has different kinds of lily flowers planted in it.  I've nestled in memory stones and little angel statutes in the garden.  We choose lily flowers because of Lilly's name.  But of course you can use any flower you like.  A good flower would be forget-me-nots!  Or, just like there is a birth stone for every month, there is also a flower for every month.  If you don't want to plant flowers, you could always plant some special trees.  A family in Israel planted special trees in honor of two of their Trisomy babies.  (And sweetly planted the 3rd one they had in honor of our Lilly!) The mama said they planted flowers around the bases of the trees.  Another family made a rock garden. They even wrote the names of other angel babies on the rocks in the garden.  I like the looks of flower gardens but never really have done much with them myself.  But I have really enjoyed taking care of my Lilly garden.  Even weeding it.  (You can see a picture of our first garden here.  When we moved we dug up the bulbs and brought them with us for a new Lilly garden.)

Colors:  Lilly was born on the 4th of July so of course her "colors" are red-white-and-blue.  We have many "Lilly colored" things and it is funny how comforting that is for us.  Even our current house is "Lilly colored!"  Choose a color that is meaningful to you in representing your child. You can use the color of their birthstone (there is one for each month) or a color they looked good wearing - or whatever you want.  I remember one mother telling me her angel daughter's color was green.  The mom said she had everything from green storage boxes to green shoes to remind her of her daughter.  Every month on the 4th and 15th (Lilly's birth and death dates) my husband wears his "Lilly colored" tie to work.

Jewelry:  I have 3 pieces of jewelry that remind me of Lilly.  (See pictures here.)  One is a necklace that has a little baby shoe charm with her birthstone in it. (She had received it for her 1st birthday.)  Also on the necklace is a little circle with an "L" on it.  I also like wearing a red, white, and blue bracelet and matching earrings.  The bracelet is very much like one Lilly wore.  I got the bracelet and earrings from a mom of a Trisomy angel boy. She makes remembrance jewelry and sells them through her Etsy shop.  She also sells beautiful jewelry through her website. (Six Sisters Beadworks.)  Again, you can choose anything that reminds you of your child and wear it. 

Memory-Making Ideas and Healing Activities:  An excellent compilation by the Lutheran Children's Hospital.  The link:

Memory ideas from the Kwant family:  The Kwant family had their precious Hannah with them for 64 days.  (Hannah had Trisomy 18).  This family has come up with many wonderful memory projects.  Here are two links with a number of them:  and

Hannah's big sister Cassie makes and sell a number of items, including memory type things such as hair bows with pictures in them, and bow ties for boys with pictures in them.  Her blog of items is  and her Etsy site is

Bears:  We were very blessed to have another Trisomy angel mom make a very special bear for us out of Lilly's blankets.  We call the bear LillyBear.  LillyBear is in family photos with us, goes on trips with us, is the object of a little book I am writing, and sleeps in my daughter's room with her to comfort her at night.  I know a number of families that are delighted with their Molly Bears . These are weighted teddy bears for families of infant loss.  One family I know actually had a doll made that looks remarkably like their angel.  For children of fallen soliders, you can get a bear made from the soldiers uniform.  See this link: .  Don't underestimate how healing something like this is!

Assorted things from clothing of loved ones:  At the Memory Lane Boutique (, they take shirts, jeans, neckties, dresses, etc. and turn them into a variety of things:  bears, pillows, Christmas stockings, luggage tags, laptop bags, etc.  Their motto:  "When someone you love becomes a memory, turn that memory into something you not only hold in your heart, but in your hands."

Family Photos:  When you have family photos made, choose something to represent your angel so that they are "present."  We use LillyBear.  She fits perfectly into our annual Christmas picture.  Since our youngest son never got to meet Lilly in this life, I had some professional baby pictures of him with LillyBear.  (See picture here.)  Another trisomy angel family I know uses a large framed photograph of their daughter.  One of their other children will hold the framed photo in the pictures.

Collage:  If you are blessed to have enough photos, a collage of your angel is a wonderful keepsake.  Right after Lilly died, the funeral home director urged us to put together a collage of her for the viewing and funeral.  Tabby and I worked hard on it and I am so glad we did it.  It is now framed and over our fireplace that is in our dining room so we see it many times every day.  (See it here.)

Christmas:  I like to include Lilly in our Christmas season.  I buy her an angel ornament every year.  I include her in our Christmas card - both in the signature line and in the picture in some way.  Her Christmas stocking hangs with our family's.  See my more detailed blogpost here - it includes a wonderful list from NILMDTS of ways to honor your angel child during this time.

to be continued

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