There is a desire and drive to keep someone you love alive after they die. Keeping someone alive is simply doing everything you can to preserve them in daily life. Doing everything you can to keep their memory and essence here with you.
Using their name
Talking about them in present tense
Keeping belongings out that are theirs
Displaying or wearing tokens
These are the most common ways that people try to keep their loved ones’ memory alive.
A token of loss is something people use to remind them of their loved ones that have passed away. This can be a variety of things such as; rings, necklaces, bracelets, wind chimes, trinkets, candles, framed pictures, etc. A loss token can be extremely comforting for the one grieving.
After losing Porter, I frantically searched for loss tokens hoping and longing to preserve his memory. All of these things are stragicaly placed in various parts of our home, just like if Porter was arriving soon, clothes and baby items would have their place. Now there are tokens that represent his presence in our family and home.
My mom bought me several tokens for Porter. She got me a ring with angel wings that I have not taken off since I got it (purchased here). Also a bracelet that says “God has you in his arms, I have you in my heart” purchased from here. (link) The day or two after Porter died, she sent me a wind chime with angels that hangs on our back porch. (purchased here) The sound of the wind chime makes me feel like Porter is here reminding me that he knows I love him.
My friend Brittany sent me a beautiful necklace to remember Porter. The necklace has multiple charms; an angel wing, his name, a lavender jewel and a circle with the quote “I carried you every second of your life and I will love you every second of mine.” I have loved this token because some days in my grief I want to wear his name close to my heart all day. Other days I need the reminder that he is perfectly loved and happy in Heaven, so I wear the angel wing.
My friend Sylvia just recently sent me a beautiful charm bracelet.
A group of sweet friends from my birth group with Ava, the lucky charms, sent me a care box. This box had different goodies inside, including a small ceramic heart. This heart is a token that I set out in our living room and the girls refer to it as “Porter’s heart.” The group that the box was from is called ___ and can be found here.
We have a gallery wall of pictures in our hallway. Typical gallery pictures include baby, wedding and family photos. My mom sent us a beautiful print from this shop. I framed it and now Porter will forever be included in our gallery wall.
My friend Erika surprised us with a very thoughtful gift of a hand painted portrait of our family with Porter. Made by smiddycaligraphy(link), we now have a complete family portrait to display. This one still brings me to tears.
My mother in law, Debra Gooding, had our announcement picture framed. This was originally an anniversary gift to us, but has turned into a token representing Porter. For weeks, I could not look at this picture though. I would lay it face down on our dresser or put it up in our closet. Now I am finally able to display it without breaking down crying.
From the loss bag that I received at Maricopa OBGYN, there was a handmade rice pack with lavender and a candle. The rice pack does not leave my nightstand and the candle is in the living room. On top of the rice pack is a hat that I purchased from this Etsy shop when I was still pregnant. Porter’s hat sits on the rice pack on the nightstand. When we came home from the doctor appointment where we confirmed Porter had passed away, I had Matt heat up the rice pack for me. For days, I would place the warmed rice pack on my uterus. Just to keep him warm. I felt so cold and empty knowing he was dead in my womb. Warming and holding him while I cried helped me somehow. When I would lay with the rice pack on my stomach, I laid Porter’s hat on the pillow next to me.
Tokens are, more often than not, a part of how a person processes grief. Some people will seek to find several of their own tokens that are meaningful to them. Others will only have one token that they treasure to remind them of their loss. People have tokens of loss after miscarriages, stillbirth, infant loss, child loss, death of a family member and even pets.
Even though doing these things helps someone that is grieving a loss feel some solace, it is not closure. This is important to note because remembering your loss with talking, things, and tokens are healthy and healing. But it is not closure. Finding closure is not as straight forward. We will address that next blog.
Do you have a token of loss? What is it? How did you come to acquire it?