Losing a child is perhaps the most tragic event a human being can face in their lifetime. If someone you care about is facing the anniversary of their child’s death, you may be searching for some words of comfort and remembrance. It may seem impossible to find the right words when faced with such grief and tragedy.
You may be considering how best to acknowledge the anniversary of a child’s death. It’s always nice to write a card or say something in person. A social media post might feel more appropriate to you. Or you might want to honor the child and their family in some other way. Here are 25 ideas to get you started.
What to Write in a Card on the Anniversary of a Child’s Death
The anniversary of a child’s death can feel like a monumental day to their parents. If an anniversary is coming up, it’s supportive to acknowledge the day by sending the grieving parents a note.
1. “You and your child hold a special place in my heart.”
Grief can be very lonely. Especially a year—or two—or even 10 years out. Bring the family comfort by letting them know that they will always have a place in your heart.
2. “If there is anything we can do, please reach out.”
Let the family know that you’re still thinking of them on this difficult day. Assure them that they have a community to lean on if they need anything at all.
3. “I am missing your child extra today and wanted to reach out.”
It can be wonderful for a parent to hear that their child is missed by others. This is especially true on the anniversary of their child’s death.
4. “We will never stop praying for you and your child.”
If you know that the parents you are offering anniversary condolences to are religious, this is a good choice. Knowing that their family remains in collective prayer can bring great peace of mind.
5. “Sending you strength and peace.”
Accepting that your child has been gone for an entire year can feel devastating. Strength and peace may be just what a grieving family most needs to keep going.
6. “Your child always told us how close you two were. Their lunchtime phone calls with you were a highlight of their day.”
If you are reaching out to parents who lost an adult child, share something that their child told you about them. Hearing the influence we had on our children after they are gone can be soothing for the soul.
Tip: The more specific you can be in sharing stories, the more profound the impact.
What to Say to a Loved One on the Anniversary of Their Child’s Death
It is wonderful if you can support someone in person who is coming up on an anniversary of the loss of their child. Here are some ideas on how you can begin a conversation. Be ready to offer a hand or a hug.
7. “How can I best support you?”
Ask this earnestly and only if you are willing to support your loved one in any way they need. You can offer specific supports like watching their other children so they can take a self-care day, cleaning their home, or buying them a meal.
8. “I have thought about you every day.”
Let someone know that they have been on your mind this year and that they are not alone in their grief. It is heartwarming to imagine someone thinking of you and sending strength every day of a difficult year.
9. “I miss your child so much.”
It is important to let grieving parents know that they are not alone in their grief. Hearing that their child had an effect on others can fill a parent’s grieving heart.
10. “You are an amazing parent.”
Use this opportunity to remind them what amazing parents they are and how lucky their child was to have them.
Sometimes losing a child can bring irrational guilt and remorse. If they only had one child, they may feel like a vital chunk of their identity was lost with their child. Once a parent, always a parent. Speak that reality out loud, so they don’t have to question it—at least when you’re around.
11. “I am thinking of you today. How are you?”
When you don’t have the right words to say, offering someone a listening ear is a perfect solution.
12. “I am here.”
Sometimes, the best option is to not say anything at all. Just let your loved one know that you are there for them. That way, if they prefer to be distracted or silent, there is space for that. But if they want to talk, you have set the stage that you are open and available to them.
Social Media Ideas for the Anniversary of a Child’s Death
If you are commemorating the anniversary of your child’s death, a social media post can be an effective tool for honoring your child and garnering support from a wide community.
If you plan to use social media to honor someone else’s lost child on the anniversary of their death, make sure it’s okay with them first.
13. Post a picture
Post a favorite picture of the child you lost. Perhaps it’s the last picture you took of them, or maybe it’s your favorite picture of the two of you together.
If inspiration strikes, write a meaningful tribute to the child along with the picture. You can share as little or as much as feels right to you. There is no right way to share your grief. Write about what the year has been like, how you’re doing, or what you miss most.
If you are religious, consider sharing those special moments where you felt they were looking down on you from heaven, watching over you.
14. Share a post
If the parents of the child who passed away write a beautiful post, share it if they are okay with it. Amplify the voices of the grieving family to memorialize the child on the anniversary of their death.
15. Start a fundraiser
Facebook, GoFundMe, and other social media sites allow you to fundraise directly on their platforms. You can fundraise for a charity or non-profit in memory of the child.
Or, if the family is struggling financially after the loss of their child, holding a fundraiser for them might be the perfect way to support them. Just make sure you get their permission first. If they say no, there are many other ways to support them.
16. Host a virtual memorial
Use Facebook Messenger, Facebook or Instagram Live, Zoom, or a similar virtual meeting software to host a virtual memorial. You could arrange a virtual candlelight vigil or even a celebration of life event.
17. Create a group
Consider creating a Facebook group in memory of the child you lost. This can be a group that fundraises for a cause the child was passionate about or for a disease they passed from. The group could promote random acts of kindness in honor of a sweet child taken too soon.
18. Comment on a Post
If you don’t feel comfortable sharing a post, leave a thoughtful comment on a family member’s post. Spending time reading through many loving and supportive comments can help grieving parents process strong emotions and heal.
» MORE: Everyone's life is worth celebrating. These tools keep their memory close.
How to Acknowledge the Anniversary of a Child’s Death
Sometimes, actions really do speak louder than words. If you are looking for some tangible ways to acknowledge a child’s death anniversary, start here.
19. Send a gift
A gift remembering a child on the anniversary of their death is beyond thoughtful.
Consider sending the parents something with the child’s name on it. It can be as simple as a candle or as ornate as a family tree. These gifts can be sent if the child was a baby, kid, or adult. You can also send this kind of gift to parents who suffered a pregnancy loss.
Tip: A personalized candle is an especially wonderful gift, because it honors the memory of the child, and allows the parents to use it in a memorial ritual every year if they choose to do so.
20. Plant a tree
You can plant a tree in your backyard, or pay to plant a tree in a place like Israel to commemorate a life lost too soon.
There is something healing about planting a tree—it’s good for the environment, and it symbolizes rebirth.
21. Name a star
Naming a star after a child is a good option for families who love science, had a kiddo obsessed with space, or who imagine their loved ones who are in heaven when they see twinkling stars.
Consider volunteering for an organization that can honor the child in some way. For instance, volunteer every year to be a candy striper on a cancer ward if the child you are honoring lost their battle with cancer.
23. Share a meal
Cook the child’s favorite meal every year and share it with family. Taste and smell have a way of eliciting memories. Laughter, tears, and a delicious meal are the perfect medicine.
24. Offer a hug
If the lost child was yours, reach out to family members who can spend time with you and offer some physical comfort.
If you are comforting the parents of a lost child, sometimes a hug means everything when words fall short.
25. Donate to a charity
Like volunteering, donating to a charity in memory of a lost child can work to mend a broken heart and make a positive impact.
Still Feeling Stuck?
The truth of the matter is that everyone handles grief and loss differently. What might be comforting and supportive to one person, might not feel like the right thing to another. There is no perfect thing to do or say.
It is most important to remember the anniversary. Put it on your calendar and send a note every year. Losing a child, even if the child was an adult, can feel very lonely. It can feel like the world around you keeps spinning, but you’ve lost the center of yours. Having someone remember the anniversary of your child’s death can mean everything.
If you feel stuck, just simply acknowledge that it’s a hard day. Let your loved one know that you are thinking of them and their child. Then follow their lead.