Recently, my daughter blessed our family with a tiny blue bundle of joy. The event has brought us great happiness and has enriched the love bonds between the four generations of living ancestral heritage. Her pregnancy was not without great risk however, and at times, we were quite apprehensive at what might end in great tragedy for our family.
When I was a little girl, my aunt had a number of miscarriages. There was great sadness within our family, and my aunt was extremely fragile from suffering extraordinary loss and complicated grief. Eventually, my dear aunt was blessed with a biological child of her own.
As my daughter’s pregnancy progressed, the much-anticipated sonogram day came upon us. We discovered that her child was a boy. In order to commemorate this wonderful blessing into our family, I decided to purchase a bracelet for my daughter. The bracelet was the type where you can buy beads to symbolize important events, and add to it as time progresses. I purchased blue beads and one silver bead with red hearts, as the day she had her sonogram was Valentine’s Day.
My daughter’s bracelet became very popular and so I decided that I would give a bracelet to the women who were hosting her baby shower. I wanted the bracelets to have sentimental value, so I decided to hand-make each one of them. There were five women working on her shower, and so that meant five additional bracelets.
The shower was a wonderful event with over thirty friends and family in attendance. At the end of the shower, I gave the five women the handmade bracelets. They were very appreciative. I explained to them that as my grandson experienced life’s milestones, they would each receive a new bead commemorating the event. A day or two later, I began receiving questions and requests from various women who had attended the shower for additional bracelets. It seemed the bracelets had been quite impressive.
My daughters decided they would also like to make bracelets for a few women who had suffered significant loss. The bracelets were easily customized to any circumstance, and so we began receiving requests for bracelets recognizing the losses of sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, grandparents, parents, etc. Soon we were making bracelets for numerous people. My daughters decided to name their bracelets “Beaded Sentiments.” They opened an Etsy store online so that as people requested bracelets, they could visit the store and order accordingly. My girls began a foundation to subsidize funeral expenses for infantile loss and the profits from their sales go into their fund for disbursement.
My mother and her sister had attended my daughter’s baby shower and had requested bracelets for themselves. After receiving their bracelets, my mother and her sister were called upon to travel to South Louisiana for a family funeral. Upon their return, my mother and her sister informed me that my aunts in South Louisiana, were quite captivated with the bracelets and thought they would each like to have one.
Soon after their return, my mother and her sister suffered another familial death. As they prepared to travel to South Louisiana again, I decided to make my aunts each a bracelet. As I was assembling these bracelets, I decided to put a tiny baby carriage on my aunt’s bracelet to symbolize the loss of her sweet babies so many years ago. My mother was concerned. She feared that the baby carriage bead would reawaken old wounds for my aunt, and thought it would be better left off the bracelet. I decided that I would include the bead. As a funeral director, I thought it would comfort my aunt to know that her tragedy was still remembered by her family.
My mother and her sister took the bracelets to South Louisiana. I knew my mother was uncomfortable that the baby carriage bead was on the bracelet, but she gave it to my aunt as I had requested.
My aunt sent back words of appreciation for the bracelet and especially for the thoughtful baby carriage bead. You see, a mother never forgets the loss of a child. She painstakingly adjusts her life to be able to contain her heartache, hoping that one day she will see her beautiful child on the other side of life.
Nearly 50 years later, my aunt still remembers the sting of losing her beloved babies, and she finds comfort in a bracelet that says others do too.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author and freelance writer. I write books, weekly articles and brief tips on understanding and coping with grief. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.