How to Celebrate a Birthday for a Child Who Has Recently Died

Updated July 20, 2017

The grief of losing a child never leaves a parent but does become more bearable as he learns how to cope with his child's death. Creating rituals in order to remember their child on special days will help the parents deal with their grief, according to an article on the At Health website. Celebrating their child's birthday gives recently bereaved parents a chance to focus on happier times for a while, rather than the pain of their loss. Whether it is time alone in quiet reflection or surrounded by friends and family, there are many ways to mark a deceased child's birthday.

Tie a personal message to the string of a balloon and release it in a special place. You can have a single balloon or one balloon to represent each year of your child's birthday age. Give balloons to any attending family members, and encourage them to add a personal message of their own. Choose balloons in your child's favourite colour, and release them in a spot that meant a lot to her.

Hold a memorial service. If you would prefer an informal gathering, hold the service in your home and invite family members and close friends. For a larger memorial, ask the pastor of your local church for advice on holding a church memorial. Ask loved ones to tell stories or talk about fun memories they have of your child. You can also light candles at the end of the service as a mark of remembrance.

Pick a special spot in your garden or yard and plant a tree or rose bush. As each year, and birthday passes, the tree's growth will symbolise your present love for your child, says a 2002 Silent Grief website article. This will then become a nice place for quiet reflection on other special days such as the anniversary of her death, Christmas, Mother's Day or Father's Day.

Take presents to your local children's hospital. Children who are ill will appreciate a gift, no matter how small. Honouring your child's life in this way brings something positive from your pain and loss. Wrap individual gifts and write "In memory of our son on his birthday" on them. You can add his name if you wish. This enables your child to touch the lives of other children.

Visit the child's grave on her birthday. The releasing of butterflies is a popular memorial for children because it symbolises hope, says the Silent Grief website. Alternatively, leave flowers, toys or anything else you feel is appropriate, at her grave as a mark of remembrance.


Do not feel pressured if other people do not understand your need to celebrate your child's birthday. The only important thing on that day is that you do whatever you believe is necessary to remember your child.


Do not isolate yourself. Allow others to support you on this difficult day. Other loved ones will want to pay their respects and remember your child with you.

Things You'll Need

  • Balloons
  • Small Gifts
  • Flowers
  • Toys
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About the Author

Residing in Blackpool, U.K., J.L Grayson-Avery has been writing since 1999. As a reporter her articles have appeared in "The Blackpool Gazette" and "Blackpool E" magazine. Grayson-Avery received a Higher National Diploma in journalism from Glasgow University.