I love taking photographs; even more so since Melody died. We have few photos of her, but we do have them, but in her photo albums, there are days missing. Days which I can’t piece together what she did, moments of her life missing, memories which have faded for me.
Photographs now are of great importance to me. I try to take them of my growing children as often as I can; but I always try to capture a moment in every day, albeit small or something huge.
I don’t want to miss a thing.
In the weeks which followed the death of our daughter, we began to find comfort in seeing her name. I have always struggled with signs from her; struggled with the thought that “she is all around us”. I have worked on this over the years, it isn’t something that has really changed, and I don’t think it will.
So, I love seeing her name, it kind of began with our memory box which my online birth group friends brought for us; her name as clear as day on the front of the box, inside the box, is a tiny cushion with her name on too, it gave her presence.
Various social media pages began offering personalised graphic pictures, where they put your baby’s name on a picture, so I began “collecting” these, different designs – some were themed like for Christmas or Easter, some just had a nice or meaningful background; each included Melody.
I can’t quite remember which picture started it off, but I remember we visited a place in Devon the first summer we were without her, there’s a section named “Melody Close”, seeing her name felt like she had been included in our day out.
From then we began writing her name in the sand. Every beach we visited we wrote her name, close friends began to follow suit, places we had never heard of or would dream of visiting. Having the imagination I have, it is almost like she is having her own adventures, traveling the world, going to places we’d never dream or afford of going.
By our first October, Melody was soon included in the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Wave of Light, her name placed by candles alongside many, many other babies’ names. I was a beautiful thing to know she was remembered in this event. The following summer I placed a status on my Facebook, asking if people would write her name in the sand at the beaches they visited, it was a way of giving her a footprint to walk in the sand; she never had the chance to feel sand between her toes, this would have been the only way.
Many pictures came through; it was touching to see the many places she was being remembered, for the moments her name was being written, she was being thought of. Sad as it is as time as moved forward, the moments of thought can lessen. As her second birthday approached, we didn’t know how we would ‘celebrate’, we found the second birthday harder than the first. Taken from a friend’s idea for her daughter’s birthday the year before, we asked people to write her name, not just in the sand; but in any kind of way, they could think of. There would be no cards, no party or her choosing a birthday cake.
Our friends and family came up with the most wonderful designs and ideas; there were so many and no two were the same. It means so much to see people had taken a moment out of their day; to do a little something for her.
We are several years into this journey, and over the course of the years the photos don’t come as often. But the ones which arrive mean so much to us. We can’t physically make memories with her, but we can somehow make her memory last. When the days in which it feels all is fading her name appears; someone has taken the time to remember her.
We fill scrapbooks when we have time, rather than photo albums.
We have several which we love; the children are often the first to want to include her name in a place we were visiting.
She has been taken to Florida, Indiana, France, Cornwall, Australia, Scotland, and Devon to name a few.
She was remembered by a couple we have never met on their wedding day; this one landed a spot on our wall in our living room.
Here are just a few.
We named her after a character in the Doctor Who series; when she was born we knew we had picked the right name.
We just didn’t know she would end up travelling on her own.
I don’t want the only place her name is written is on her headstone.
Her name should be surrounded the beauty she deserves.
If you’re reading and would like to take her with you, we have given her a hashtag – #melodysfootprints