When I first heard the phrase 'continued parenting' from Kara over at KotaPress, it was like a lightbulb went off in my head. It just made sense to me. The idea is that our relationship as our children's mom or dad does not end when they die- it is just beginning. The things we do for our children, and in their memory are how we 'parent' them. We create their legacy, for they are not here to do it themselves.
This is the idea behind the Kindness Projects over at MISSfoundation. We can watch for small ways to do good in the world, as a way to honor our children's memory. MISS sells small cards to be left behind explaining that this anonymous act of kindness has been done in memory of a child and that "their brief life and death continues to matter."
Creating a scrapbook for Gabriel was very difficult for me. For one thing, going to the scrapbook store was painful- so many 'baby's first steps', and 'baby's first smile' stickers and paper that I would never use. I thought it would be easier once my husband designed the Heartspoken Vellum Quotes pages and I had some quotes and images specific for scrapbooking a stillborn baby. And it was easier, a bit. But still I put it off.
I didn't want to start because in the back of my mind I never wanted to be 'finished'. It was easier to begin once I realized that I never need be 'finished'- I can always continue to add to his story, or rather my story as his mom. I can add pages for the Walks to Remember I attend. For the March of Dimes walks. For the friends I have met that I would never know otherwise. For the good I am able to do because although he was only with me for a brief moment, he changed me forever.
With or without offical 'kindness cards', large events or small acts done in memory of our child are ways to honor them. This year I hope to find ways to continue Gabriel's legacy- this blog is just another small way to do this.
I'd love to hear ways you are creating your children's legacy- please leave a comment or send me an email to share.
If you are newer in your journey and your loss is more recent you may not have any energy or enthusiasm for this. That is ok. Someday you will. Do what you can do at this minute. Take care of yourself.
I hope today is gentle for you. peace- emily