Monday, October 29, 2012

Painting Memory Boxes

For many years I've been involved with a wonderful organization that provides specially painted boxes to parents whose child is either stillborn or dies shortly after birth.  I've painted them for people I know and complete strangers, but each box is unique and sent out with much love and prayer.  Details on the Memory Box Artist Program is below.  Here's a very small sample of some of the boxes I've painted:
If I know the baby's name, I'll include it on the box. 
Animals, angels and florals are the preferred style of box. 
The boxes are paper mache and can be any shape or size (although a rectangular box is discouraged as it looks coffin-like)
Sometimes I'll paint multiple boxes at once.  I will always change the design somehow so that no two are alike.  The sides are painted to coordinate with the top design.
The inside is always finished as well.  I like to use either gold or silver paint as it makes a nice finish that doesn't need varnish.  Most of the time I will paint a small element of the design inside or add a poem or scripture.
Interested in learning more?  The Memory Box Artist Program, Inc. began in June of 1998 as an all volunteer effort to provide boxes for families of newborns that pass-away in a hospital. The Memory Box is given to the parents of the child so they do not leave the hospital without any acknowledgment of the child's life. The boxes are filled with mementos of the child, i.e. photograph, footprints, lock of hair, etc.
To date, the program has provided over 113,000 boxes for infant bereavement programs. The boxes are provided free of charge to the hospitals who participate in this program. Each box is painted or decorated by volunteers who purchase the boxes and other supplies with their own funds, and then mail them to the appropriate hospital without any expectation of compensation.
The purpose of the program is to affirm the life of their child for the family who has suffered the loss of a newborn. Crafters and artists create each box with great love and a sincere wish to reach out in support and understanding. We know each infant is special and loved very much, regardless of how long the child lived.


scrapn said...

I never heard of this program. As sad & heartbreaking as it is, this is a very beautiful, selfless thing the artists who participate in this program are doing.
One of my friends lost twins at 5 1/2 months. She had to deliver them. They boy was born dead & the girl lived 1/2 hour.
A program like this would have been wonderful for her. She has no momentos of them at all. There was not even a funeral. She still grives them 10 years later. You never get over the loss of a child.
You should be proud you do this Cindy. It is a valuable service and a gift from the heart.

HollyRidgeCreations said...

The boxes are beautiful. Such a precious gift at a time when words never seem to be enough. I am going to check with area hospitals to see if this program is in place. Thank you for sharing.
Judy Duley

Deedee said...

I just started decorative painting, and we too, paint memory boxes. Do you offer any beginner patterns to be used for people like myself who have been asked to do some on their own at home?