Losing a newborn is an unspeakable tragedy one Florida mother overcame by memorializing her child in a way that gave her 3-year-old son a place to mourn too.
“I wanted to do something special that my other son (Tucker) could participate in,” said Ashlee Hammac (24) whose infant son Ryan passed away five days after she gave birth. Together Ashlee and Tucker came up with the idea of paying tribute to baby Ryan by adding a sandbox to his grave.
“Tucker always wanted to play in the dirt around Ryan’s grave,” Ashlee said. She believes the sandbox helped her family cope with their loss by turning the sad memory into a happier one. Now “Tucker always goes out there with me and sits and sings lullabies and talks to him just like he was there. He calls it baby Ryan’s sandbox.”
Ashlee said the five days baby Ryan was alive changed their lives. Since his passing in 2013, she has kept his spirit alive by founding a non-profit organization called Pages to Memories, which donates books and blankets to NICUs so families like hers can bond with newborns while they are still in Neonatal Intensive Care Units.
Recently Ashlee shared a photo on Facebook of Tucker playing in the sand by his brother’s headstone that went ‘viral,’ drawing more than 173,000 ‘likes’ and 220,000 ‘shares.’
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