A mother’s tribute to her son, who passed away just five days after she gave birth to him, is as simple as it is beautiful. Now it’s touching hearts across the world as her photo posted on Facebook is going viral.
Ashlee Hammac, 24, told People.com that she initially planned to decorate her late son Ryan’s gravesite with glass pebbles. She ended up incorporating her older son, Tucker, into the decision.
This was the result:
Hammac said Tucker would visit Ryan’s grave with her all the time. He “sings lullabies, and talks to him just like he was there,” she explained.
“So I wanted it to be special for him too. His favorite thing right now is trucks,” the mother added.
That’s where the idea for the sandbox — seen above — came from. Now Tucker has a place where he can not only mourn the loss of his little brother, but he can play there too. The boy now often asks his mother if he can visit “baby Ryan’s sandbox.”
“After first posting a photo of Tucker playing in Ryan's sandbox on March 2, Hammac said she has experienced an overwhelming outpouring of support from other mothers who have lost children. She says the virtual response has been particularly moving given her own difficulty in finding an outlet for her grief when Ryan passed away,” People.com reports.
The viral photo has now been shared more than 220,000 times on Facebook.
Baby Ryan was given a 1 in 8 chance of living after Hammac’s placenta burst during birth in October, depriving the baby of oxygen for several hours. The child was treated in the neonatal intensive care unit for several days. Eventually, an MRI showed no brain activity.
Even though he only lived for five days, Ryan still managed to play the role of a hero. His heart was donated to save the life of another baby.
Hammac said she wants to meet the mom of that child someday.