I wanted to do a little blog post on how we chose to celebrate Holly's 2nd Birthday. As with anything I blog about, I share because I hope that some where it may help others. Whether that be by giving bereaved parents ideas of ways that can celebrate anniversaries, giving family or friends ideas in how they can support the bereaved or even by just helping to increase someones understanding of baby death. There is by no means a 'right way' when it comes to celebrating these anniversaries. Some parents may not want to celebrate at all and that is okay. This is just the way we did it and the way we think Holly would love.
We decided that this year we would throw Holly a birthday party, joint with her baby brother. It felt right considering that their birthdays are only 13 days apart and that Kobe was Holly's gift to us. So a week before her actual birthday we threw a rainbow themed party for Kobe and a mermaid themed party for Holly. Holly was born in her sac, which is called a mermaids purse and so that is where the mermaid link originally comes from. We had a little mermaid cake topper made for her and decorated her cake with sea shells.
We had friends and family coming and knew that we wanted to do something special for her. At her funeral we released balloons but what with trying to be more environmentally aware, we decided to try and find an Eco friendly alternative. I had an idea of doing something with the sea and came across a beautiful biodegradable urn. We decided to use our 'wish' paper that we used at our wedding (again it felt right as Holly was with us when we got married in Cornwall) and to ask friends and family to write down a birthday wish for Holly. We will then seal the container and throw the urn into the sea when we next return to Cornwall with the idea being that the wishes will find our little mermaid.
We then completed Holly's table at the party with flowers from her Pops (including Sea Holly flowers, of course), a number 2 balloon, her candle and her cake. We sang her 'Happy Birthday' and we wrote her wishes. It was a beautiful day for a beautiful little girl.
The 7th September was Holly's birthday and the beginning of the day started off much like her first birthday. We had more donations to drop off at Frimley Park Hospital (Holly's birthplace). This year I had worked with some wonderful ladies, 'Emily Makes Boutique' and 'When You Wish Upon A Star' to create a beautiful candle to give to bereaved parents. We had been given our 'Soft Blanket' Yankee candle on the day Holly was born and I just love having a smell associated with her and so we wanted to try and give other parents that gift too.
I am so proud of the candles that we created and donated in Holly's memory. I could never thank the midwives at Frimley Hospital enough for their care and support during our diagnosis and after care of Holly. We can't shower Holly with gifts as she isn't here, so instead we chose to spread some love and kindness in her name.
We then went and visited the chapel at the hospital. On the day Holly was born, we were given the option to enter some words on to the remembrance book which is held there. We didn't hand that paper in until last year and so this year was the first time that we had seen her entry in the book. Seeing Holly's name written is something which always feels so special.
Our daughter Eleni had asked to have a picnic at Holly's (the crematorium) on her birthday and so that was what we did next. We took down flowers which we had made from the florist who had created her funeral flowers, again with Sea Holly and took down her some balloons too. Eleni had picked cup cakes for us to have and we sang 'Happy Birthday' whilst watching the wind play with the flames. We opened her cards and read them to her. We played games and we laughed. It was emotional and yet so beautiful too.
As part of Eleni's sibling box from the beautiful 'Otis and Friends', she sprinkled angel glitter over Holly's flowers. This will definetly be a new tradition to Holly's birthday.
We did decide on getting Holly one very special birthday present and that was a new memory box. We were so thankful to be given a 4louis memory box when Holly was born but we felt it was time to get a personalised one just for her. The idea was easier said than done as we spent MANY hours trawling the internet to find what we wanted. We didn't want a wooden one as was worried that it could come with a strong smell that would mask the smell that was only just still remaining on her blanket and hat. Luckily a lovely friend pointed me in the direction of 'The Empty Box' company and I couldn't be more thankful. Empty Box were incredibly welcoming with the ideas that I had and worked with such kindness to create the perfect box for Holly. They created the exact dividers that we wanted and the outcome is just beautiful. We gave out sweet pea seeds at Holly's funeral and so we decided to go for a sweet pea design for its special meaning. We now have a perfect home for Holly's special things.
Another friend suggested last year that I got a 'Holly bracelet' with the idea of adding a new charm to it on special occasions. For her second birthday I added her birthstone.
We were so lucky that Holly was remembered by so many caring people. She got some beautiful presents, cards, birthday wishes and words of love. It is possible that on a day as difficult as a birthday, for there to still be so much love and light.
As I said in the beginning, our way of getting through the hardest of days wont be how everyone does but I hope that in sharing, it might make someone see such occasions differently in the future. It might make one more person wish bereaved parents a happy birthday for their child or it might just make someone have a little more understanding of the consideration needed on those days.
Whereever these words go, I hope they can bring a little comfort and the knowledge that someone, somewhere does understand. If my daughter has taught me anything, its that selfless goes a very long way.
Happy Birthday my sweet angel. Your dancing feet will move mountains.
On the 7th September 2016 at 25 weeks gestation, Holly was born, still after a battle with complete heart block.