A Young Mom Had A Sandbox Built Over Her Son’s Grave So His Brother Could Play There

“He always goes out there with me, and sits out there, and sings lullabies, and talks to him just like he was there,” she told People.

1. After Ashlee Hammac’s son Ryan died last October, she wanted to make the grave a place her other son, Tucker, would feel included, KOAA reports.

2. Ashlee decided to build a sandbox above the Lake City, Fla. grave, where her 3-year-old son could still play with his brother.

The 24-year-old mom told People she originally conceived a gravesite with glass pebbles, but then wanted to give her older son, Tucker, his own place to mourn.

3. “He always goes out there with me, and sits out there, and sings lullabies, and talks to him just like he was there,” Ashlee said. “So I wanted it to be special for him too.”

4. Ryan Jolley lived just five days, dying from Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephlepathy, which occurs from a lack of blood flow to the brain.

The words on his headstone are from a book she said she would read to Ryan in the NICU: “You are my angel, my darling, my star and my love will find you, wherever you are.”

5. After sharing photos of the grave site on Facebook on March 2, Ashlee said thousands shared the images, and then People Magazine wrote about her story.

6. “I wasn’t even expecting to share it with the world,” Ashlee said. “And then it blew up, I was amazed.”

7. Tucker “likes it a lot when we come here,” Ashlee said, saying her son will sometimes ask to go to “baby Ryan’s sandbox.”

8. Ashlee is now trying to use the attention to raise money for her charity, Pages to Memories, which aims to raise money for HIE research.

“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,” Hammac explained. “And I wanted to feel like Ryan was helping still, because in those five days he changed our family so much.”

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