A mother's tribute to her late infant son has been going viral. Ashlee Hammac, 24, added a sandbox to her son's grave so that his older brother could play with him.
All photos courtesy Ashlee Hammac
The infant, Ryan Jolley, died five days after his birth in October due to HIE, a brain dysfunction that occurs when there is a lack of blood to the brain. Though he was mostly confined to his NICU bed, Ryan's mother was able to introduce him to his three-year old brother Tucker.
Ashlee originally planned to decorate Ryan's gravesite with glass pebbles but then she thought that Tucker may need his own space to mourn. She told PEOPLE, "The more I thought about it, the more I wanted something my other son Tucker could be incorporated in. 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."
Since the story was posted on the Facebook page Sawyers Heart, the picture of Tucker playing in Ryan's sandbox has gained nearly 175,000 likes and has been shared almost 50,000 times. But other people feel that this may not be the healthiest form of healing for the family.
One PEOPLE commenter wrote, "As a mother, I am very sad for her loss. But as a mother, I am also very sad for her toddler and how she is projecting her grief onto him. I hope this family gets some grief counseling to learn healthy ways to cope with their loss." That being said, most comments have been positive.
Ryan's healthy heart was donated to save another baby, and Ashlee hopes to meet the infant's mother one day.