Deceased Child Birthday Celebration

10 Ways to Honor Your Child’s Birthday After Their Death

We recently celebrated the first birthday of our son, Travis Jr., who was stillborn on July 1, 2022. 


We hope the following aspects of our celebration inspires other parents with ideas to honor the birthday of their child who is no longer with them.


  1. Visit cemetery. We wanted to spend time where our son’s physical body was (though we know his soul isn’t there). 


  1. Invite others to reflect on your child’s life. We invited a few family members to join us for an informal reflection time at the cemetery, where they shared memories about our son, as well as prayers and songs.


  1. Plant flowers. We planted beautiful, golden roses and baby’s breath flowers, as well as magnolias, at our son’s grave site.


  1. Sing happy birthday. It felt a little strange singing this song since it didn't feel like a "happy" occasion. However, it also felt like a way to honor the life that our child lived and acknowledge the joy and happiness that his life brought us.


  1. Light a candle. We lit a special candle in our son’s remembrance and blew it out like a birthday candle.


  1. Visit a special place. After the above activities, we had a birthday picnic for our son at the park where we’d had our pregnancy photo shoot.


  1. Eat cake/cupcakes. We enjoyed delicious cupcakes with cupcake toppers that acknowledged his first birthday.


  1. Play games. We played kid-friendly games, including bubbles, mini bean bag toss, and mini Velcro darts. These activities added a pleasant touch to the celebration, including some amicable competition.


  1. Write a poem. We asked family and friends to write poems honoring our son’s life, and also personally spent time writing a poem. Linked here is a poem written by Travis Jr.’s mother, in remembrance of his day of birth.


  1. Journal. We spent alone time reflecting on our son’s life and the past year without him. Journaling aided this reflection process. Linked here is a special journal for bereaved parents.


We brainstormed several other ideas for how to celebrate our son’s birthday, and we look forward to doing those activities in future years.


We hope you are able to find at least one way that is personally meaningful to honor your child’s birthday. Please feel free to comment below about if any of the approaches shared above resonated with you, or if there are other ways you’ve honored or are planning to honor the birthday of a child who has died.

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