Stuffed Animals
Frequently called a “Memory Bear” or in our case, a “Memory Dragon”


  - Honestly, at first, this idea was so painful for me. I couldn’t process the idea that we would be bringing a stuffed animal into
  our home instead of our son. I initially felt frustrated, hurt, and confused because it felt like a replacement for something
  irreplaceable- my child in heaven. After three months of wrestling with the idea, I ordered two stuffed dragons which
  corresponded to the twins’ nursery theme and it has helped Liam immensely.


  - First and most importantly, we call him “Wrigley’s Dragon”---never Wrigley. I’ve encouraged our older son Liam to take good
  care of the dragon for Wrigley since Wrigley lives in heaven. I make it very clear that this is not Wrigley because no single item
  in this world could ever replace my sweet son, and his baby brother—especially something as silly as a stuffed animal. I tell them
  that this dragon is just Wrigley’s stuffed animal and if Wrigley lived with us, he would play with it but since Wrigley lives in
  Heaven, Liam (and eventually JJ) has to care for it.


  - After about two weeks, “Wrigley’s Dragon” became immersed in everything we do as a family. When we play board games, Wrigley
  is on my team, so Liam places the dragon next to me. When we read books or have picnics, we make sure Wrigley’s Dragon is there. In
  the beginning, I had to initiate and encourage this, however, after just two weeks, Liam includes the dragon all on his own. Just
  recently, we were playing “Ninja Turtles” and I bought four bandanas. Wrigley was the red Ninja Turtle so we put the red bandana
  around the dragon.


  - This tangible stuffed animal allows Liam to think, “Okay if Wrigley were here, how would our life look…” The dragon creates a
  physical reminder that if Wrigley were alive, things would look different—there would be five people at our picnic—not just
  four. I hate this term but the dragon is like a “place holder.”


   - As a grieving mother, I love that Liam includes the dragon because Liam is constantly saying, “Wrigley’s Dragon” as he
  describes his day, plans, and activities so I get to hear Wrigley’s name frequently throughout each day. This dragon reminds me
  that if Wrigley was with us, this is how our life would look.


  - There are endless options for you to choose from. Obviously, a teddy bear is the most common but you can choose any animal you
  wish. Lambs and elephants seem to be used by a few families, too. I know a dragon meant something special to us, and so that is
  what we have chosen.


  - There are many options for how you may wish to include the stuffed animal—just go with what feels natural to you, and makes 
   Sense for your family and skip any ideas that cause more pain. I have seen that some parents get the animal personalized, use
  accessories or even clothing. Our family has skipped the clothing. Since I was supposed to be dressing my twins in matching
  outfits, baby clothes have become a source of heartbreak for me. However, for others it might be cathartic or something they need
  to do. This is where staying with what works best for your family comes into play- don’t force yourself to do something that feels
  unnatural.

​  - Some families rotate their memory bear nightly and different siblings get to sleep with it. This becomes a privilege for the kids
  and they cherish the nights they get the memory bear.


    - Personally, I make sure that our memory dragon is visible in casual pictures of our family moments. This way, as my boys grow,
  they will always be able to look back and see that incorporating Wrigley’s Dragon is just something we do—it is part of our “new
  normal”. 



Many families choose to include the stuffed animal in family pictures:

 












 

   WRigley's Dragon is always with us for playtime and
   special occassions, like the twins' first birthday
   ​We even included it in Addison's birth announcement.

​   We loved taking it to Chicago during the 2016 World Series
   for games 3, 4, and 5. Of course, we captured lots of fun
   pictures of  Wrigley’s Dragon at Wrigley Field.

  
We even include Wrigley’s Dragon
   when we make shadow puppets