I didn't know where to start when I realized that I would have to plan a memorial for Charlotte. It was overwhelming. I had never planned a funeral for an adult, much less for a baby. What I have learned is that a memorial is for those who are grieving, so it can take the form of anything that brings you comfort. Here are a few suggestions for components to consider:
Choose readings that are close to your heart. If you are religious, you might look to scripture for these readings. As a teacher and lover of prose, I turned to children's books and collections of poetry. Our readings focused on the love we had for Charlotte and the idea that she will always be a part of who we are.
I remember beautiful eulogies given in some of the most memorable and moving funerals that I have been to for adults. I found it hard to think about a eulogy for a baby. We didn't know her yet. Everything was a promise or a hope. Instead of a traditional eulogy, consider having someone read a sweet or funny recollection about your pregnancy, something meaningful (like how you chose your baby's name), or a connection that you made with the baby. Our family chose to have a speaker tell about foxes, which had become a symbol of Charlotte for us, and about how we planned to remember her by leaving a stone behind on future hikes.
An action can bring about a lot of comfort when it is hard to know how to get it and to give it. We included a lot of actions into our memorial. We happened to have our memorial on the same day as the Compassionate Friends' "Wave of Light", so we had everyone light a candle from a single candle lit for Charlotte. We asked them to relight their candle at 7pm once they got home and leave it burning for the hour to remember her. We invited friends and family members to write a note about how Charlotte's little life impacted them and place the card in her Christmas stocking to be read through the holidays when we needed support the most. We gave everyone a riverstone with an engraved fox to take home and leave in a special place for her and asked that, on their travels, they send us pictures for the "Charlotte's Journey" slideshow. Many families incorporate balloon releases (I chose not to do this because of the environmental consequences), planting trees or gardens, charitable collections or volunteering, or creation of art into their memorials. These can be one time actions or become yearly traditions to remember your little one.
I am a lover of words and form. I write a lot of poetry and make a lot of art. I put my work and Jack's work on display so that others could read what we had written about our love and our grief. We decorated tables with tons of pink and white flowers, fox baby toys, and a onesie that said "Lil Sis" draped over her wooden urn. We framed Charlotte's last sonogram picture, tiny hand prints, and a picture of her foot to display amongst the flowers.
Choose something meaningful to you to play. Perhaps you have a musically talented friend who might sing, play, or write something for you. Perhaps you have a song that was special to you during the pregnancy or that reminds you of your baby. Give yourself a few days to comb through songs. This took me a long time because I felt like I needed to listen to every word of the lyrics to make sure that the song fit our loss...and listening to every word of sad, sad songs takes a lot out of you.