Losing a child is the most unimaginable, painful event a parent can endure. I know. My husband and I lost our 15-year-old daughter Maddie unexpectedly this past May. She was a dream daughter. We were and still are devastated.
Almost immediately, the doorbell started ringing with love and condolences. Then flowers and plants began filling the house. At the evening visitation, there were even more flowers! We brought most of the bouquets and plants home and did the same after the funeral. In all, we counted roughly 60 floral bouquets and plant displays. As our 30-something guests began heading home in the days after the funeral, it was apparent I needed a plan for these gorgeous arrangements which would soon be dried flowers. I knew I wanted to preserve them in some fashion in honor of Maddie and kept having a vision of her funeral card surrounded by the flowers in a frame.
Below are the supplies and steps I took to accomplish the mission…
- Card stock
- Shadow Boxes (I used 9×9, 8×8, and 5×7)
- Glue stick
- Tacky Glue
- Dried flower sealant (this product is key for making this project a lasting success!)
- Q-tips or a paintbrush (for gluing flowers to the card stock)
- Tweezers (for delicate flowers)
- Butterflies, dragonflies, hummingbirds, bluebirds or any other special accent that is special to you.
When to cut the flowers
- Clip the flowers as they peak or just after.
Dry the flowers
2. I tried various drying methods and realized it was going to take a lot of time and space to wait for these flowers to dry on their own. Then it crossed my mind, will the oven or microwave work? I turned to the internet that quickly confirmed that either was an easy-breezy option. I tried the microwave and was sold. I placed the clipped flowers on a paper towel and “cooked” for two minutes. Thicker flowers may take a little longer while tiny or thin flowers may take less than two minutes. Watch closely.
Protect the flowers
3. After snipping the colorful dried flowers, I took the bulk outside on cookie sheets and sprayed them down with dried flower sealant then let the scent wear off before bringing the flowers back inside.
Time to glue
5. Using a glue stick I pasted the funeral card first. Next, I ensured every picture had a rose for Madeline Rose then used tacky glue on various flowers to create different designs. You can also use a q-tip or thin paintbrush to apply the glue to delicate stems or petals. The collages stayed flat overnight as they dried. The next day into the frames they went.
6. Creating these dried flowers keepsakes has been therapeutic and a good way to channel my grief. So far, I’ve created 20-something and still have more flowers to make more. The best part is giving them to Maddie’s loved ones.
These shadow boxes have been gifted to friends and family and are displayed in our family home. We miss Maddie terribly but take comfort in having something special from that emotionally raw period of having to bury our baby girl. She would have loved these.
If you are looking for gifts for grieving parents please read this post.