A Florida woman built a sandpit atop her baby’s grave so that his 3-year-old brother could play with him.
Ryan Michael Jolley was born in October 2013, but he died just five days later from a rare condition that prevents sufficient oxygen reaching the brain.
His mother, Ashlee Hammac, 24, of Lake City, originally planned to put decorative pebbles on the newborn’s grave, but she thought having something her son Tucker could relate to would be better.
She filled the space over the grave with blue sand.
“He always goes out there with me, and sits out there, and sings lullabies, and talks to him just like he was there,” Hammac told People Magazine.
When Hammac's mother posted a photo of the grave on Facebook March 6, it was liked more than 175,000 times.
"My daughter added sand to my grandson's grave so that his brother could 'play' with him when they visit. Makes me happy and sad at the same time..." wrote Hammac's mother Cindy.
When Ryan was diagnosed with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), Hammac was told he had a one in eight chance of survival.
Now the Hammac family is committed to raising awareness and funding for HIE research through the non-profit Pages To Memories.
“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,” she said.