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The Hood Magazine

Celebrating a Child’s Birthday after Their Death

Aug 23, 2021 ● By By: Jessica Woehlhaff

By: Jessica Woehlhaff 

Ivy Addison was born into Heaven on June 15th, 2019.  With no medical reasons as to why her heart stopped beating hours before her delivery, June 15th has been a difficult day to navigate for my family.  

I can remember the anticipation leading up to her first birthday; not knowing what would trigger me and have me on my knees. The anxiety was almost too much to bear, however, I put on a smile and planned a first birthday party with our immediate family.  We ate cake & released balloons. Nevertheless, the exhaustion kicked in shortly after, and I was thankful I had taken the week off from work, so I could rest.   

 I am a person driven by routine and tradition; I initially wanted to continue the same celebration from Ivy’s first birthday for years to come but I quickly remembered how drained it made me feel.  For her second birthday, I decided to handle it a little differently; we get to make that decision.  There is no playbook for how to handle grief.  There isn’t a step-by-step instruction manual telling us how to celebrate the birthday of our child who is gone from our arms. 

For Ivy’s second birthday, my husband, our five-year-old daughter, and I planned a day for just us.  

I started out the morning with a solo two-mile run to clear my head and honor Ivy’s two years in Heaven.  We then spent the next few hours on the golf course, as that is a place that flutters with dragonflies and is a reminder to us that Ivy is never far away.  We went out to eat, sang her “Happy Birthday”, had cake & bought balloons and yellow roses.  We tried to do all we could to find true joy in a day that causes us much heartache and grief.   

We will always celebrate our little girl and will do whatever feels right in that moment.  

Everyone journeys through grief at their own pace. Things you may find comforting this year can evolve into different things next year.  Keep a fluid mindset and follow what is on your heart, there is no right or wrong. 

Until we meet again, sweet Ivy!  Fly high, dragonfly!