JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (PIX11) — A young Florida mom grieving the loss of her infant son just five days after he was born came up with an incredible way to remember him with her other son.
Ashlee Hammac, 24, had a sandbox built over little Ryan’s grave so her other son, three-year-old Tucker, could always “play” with his brother.
Hammac said Tucker was so excited when she was pregnant and wanted a way to incorporate him. “He always goes out there with me, and sits out there, and sings lullabies, and talks to him just like he was there. So I wanted it to be special for him too. His favorite thing right now is trucks,” she told People.
Ryan passed away due to Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephlopathy, or HIE, which is a rare brain disorder, last October.
Hammac posted photos of the grave site to her Facebook page and had no idea they would go viral.
“I wasn’t even expecting to share it with the world, like I said I shared it with my family. And then it blew up, I was amazed. But I am happy that it did because now I can get the word out to our charity which is Pages to Memories,” Hammac said.
The mom has since created a non-profit organization that donates books and blankets to NICUs.
“I wanted to help. I wanted other people, because I know it wasn’t just me, to have someone to talk to…to have a place they could depend on. And I wanted to feel like Ryan was helping still, because in those five days he changed our family so much,” Hammac explained to the magazine.