Rituals & Traditions



Many families find great comfort in the rituals they develop to maintain this connection to their child. Some of these rituals will be part of their day to day routine; simple behaviors that link them to their child. Others may be designed around special occasions throughout the year when families want to include their deceased child in the traditions of that day.

Families will discover what they find meaningful their own unique rituals in memorializing their child. This may be a keepsake or personal belonging. Many families attach significance to special symbols, a favorite song, color or an object that represents the child to them. It may also be an action such as visiting the grave, hosting a toy drive or tending to a special garden that links them to the child. Some may be private that only the parent is aware of the meaning while others may include family and friends.

The rituals can become a part of tradition and connect the past, present, and future as it continues through time. Rituals also give people a comfortable way of talking about the child, acknowledging the child’s presence.

The following are rituals and traditions that families have shared they have found helpful in keeping their child's memory alive and expressing their grief:

  • Keepsake box with personal belongings or album for pictures, hospital bracelets and records, footprints, hand prints, sympathy cards and mementos
  • Box with notecards that encourages family members and friends to write memories or message
  • Lighting a candle on special dates to acknowledge the child’s presence
  • Preparing the child’s favorite food or eating at their favorite restaurant on special dates
  • Visiting a favorite location of the child’s
  • Engaging in activities the child enjoyed
  • Naming a star
  • Planting a tree or garden, creating stepping stones or a bench
  • Releasing butterflies or balloons
  • Designing a quilt from special clothes
  • Creating a scrapbook, collage, or DVDs of photographs
  • Commissioning an artist rendering of how the child would look at another age
  • Purchasing special jewelry that represents the child
  • Fundraising, advocacy or supporting research
  • Donating toys, books or money in the child's name
  • Personalizing an ornament or a stocking symbolic of the child
  • Journaling, letters or poems , drawing, painting
  • Using movement or dance as self-expression
  • Blogs, online support groups and chat rooms
  • Placing flowers or special object that are meaningful on the children's graves
  • Planning a memorial service or mass