There are four different boxes on our house. My older two children have one each, which they chose to put together; they chose what was going into them. They look at them rarely, but when they do they always try to include their little sisters, the girls who never met Melody.
Days after her funeral we were very kindly gifted a wooden memory box, personalised to her to replace the hospitals offering. It is one of my favourite things. Although I love it, I have also hated it; it isn’t something we open often, but it has been made easier by splitting the box into two. Having a shoe box with the photos of her after we lost her and painful documents have been easier to look through her “main” memory box. Both boxes remain tucked away in our wardrobe.
I wanted to share with you her memory box; because it is one of my favourite things of her.
- In Loving Memory of Our Darling Daughter poetry card, this was one of the few items in the box we were given at the hospital.
- Child’s Health Record – the famous Red Book; it has one or two entries inside. I’m glad she has one.
- Inside the little box was a gift from the Mayflowers (the mums who gifted us the box), there is a locket that came in the box too with Melody’s picture inside.
This was her ‘thumby’. Basically it is a dummy which is shaped like a thumb. She wasn’t supposed to have had it at the age that she did due to not having the right sucking reflexes, but she found hers a little sooner than expected was given this as a comforter and a way to teach her to suck ready for when she could take milk orally.
Apologies for the DVD in the pictures, it just gives you an idea of the sizes of some of her items.
- These are baby grows, each are from 3lb upwards so they each were still too big for her, but they did make her look cosy.
- The nappy at the top, you can’t buy in the shops, they’re specially made for micro preemies, even this swamped her but she certainly filled them well!!
- Her first ever hat. So tiny and a little bit stained she didn’t wear it for long.
Her siblings, especially her older sister would always write to her, or draw her pictures; this one was on the side of her cot.
“Dear Melody come home soon”
Little Miss Star was a Christmas gift, when her first Christmas was missed. The Goblet of Fire; I was reading this when I had my hospital stay(s) before she was born. The morning she was finally born, my consultant came in and said all he had to say, just before her left her said to us that he wouldn’t be delivering the baby until I had read The Deathly Hallows (the final book if you weren’t aware). I think it was his way of trying to reassure us of such a scary time. A few hours later she was born. I never finished that book.
The pink blanket is one she managed to use all the time she was there, it was one of the unit’s blankets. She always looked so snuggly underneath it. Also in this picture is another of her vests, and a teddy which had been attached to one of her balloons, yellow as always.
The one of her certificates she received while in the unit. They give them to all micros who hit 1kg; she had just hit it during the week leading up to her death. Born 670g she struggled to gain weight, simply because she would burn more calories fidgeting than she took in, her weight went up and down a lot; until one day she finally hit her first kilo. In the top corner, I was very pleased to have received a Mother’s Day card from her, complete with her photo and a foot print. I wasn’t allowed to visit on the day of Mother’s Day that year; being told “there’s always next year”. I just wish now that I had visited her.
And finally a dress. This dress is identical to the one which she was buried in. A couple of years ago, as I was putting away my youngest daughter’s newborn clothes which included a coming home outfit. It occurred to me that we couldn’t have Melody’s; so I placed a Facebook message and within a matter of days one of my friends said she had the dress. It may never have been worn by our daughter, but it is just a reminder of what she will wear forever.
Includes all of the above but also.
- Booties we brought in the hospital while we waited for her arrival.
- Congratulations cards (her sympathy ones are in the shoe box)
- Order of Service
- A baby made of icing
- A muslin square
- A baby-grow with monkeys on it, she never wore it but we couldn’t let her sisters wear it.
- Hats from Australia – her uncle spent the whole time she was alive over there travelling and brought her hats.
- A nursing bra – crazy I know but she always pouched in there when we had kangaroo care.
- A baby loss brooch.
- A gifted personalised keyring
- Christmas decoration that her older sister made for her.
- Name wristband, it was attached to her cot, ready for when she was big enough to wear it.
- Number One Candle from the first missed birthday
- Finally a PE top and tie, from the first year she should have started school.
There should never be any pressure to keep a memory box or special space within your home. I know I struggled not having a shelf in our house that is for her, but now I have one – I don’t like it, but I can’t take it down because I think I’d have some kind of guilt feeling. For now it will stay.
Having the options for these keepsakes are so important to families, some hospitals provide them it is such a lottery as to whether or not a family will receive one. I was lucky to have met some wonderful online friends who clubbed together to buy us one. We’ll never forget their kindness.
This box isn’t a shrine, just little pieces of her.