Losing a loved one is never easy for anyone, no matter how many times you have been through it. Grief is overwhelming, and many people struggle with how to move on while still honoring the memory of the person who is no longer with them.

When a parent loses a baby, the grief is particularly unbearable. The parents mourning this tremendous loss have to quickly switch gears from preparing to welcome a new child into their home to trying to figure out how to say goodbye.

Imgur user Castleguard21 and his wife lost their daughter Lucy when she was born prematurely. The nurses made an imprint of their daughter’s hands and feet in clay for the couple. This gave the grief-stricken father an idea…

When this couple lost their daughter Lucy when she was born prematurely, the nurses in the hospital gave them this clay keepsake of indentations of their daughter’s tiny hands and feet.

NscN4GrCastleguard21 / Imgur

The mold is very small, just four inches, and you can still see the ink left behind from where the small child’s hand and feet were pressed into the clay.

wciy2WpCastleguard21 / Imgur


Lucy’s father works with metal professionally at a foundry, so when he was given this tiny clay mold it inspired him to try and make something even more special to help him through the grieving process.

p3e5nOPCastleguard21 / Imgur

Lucy’s father has filled many molds before in his time working in the metal shop, but tackling this project was extremely personal.

s0xX6FBCastleguard21 / Imgur

He had to work very carefully to keep the mold intact while still making sure that every nook and cranny was filled with silicone.

TdEdchgCastleguard21 / Imgur

He knew that during the metal making process molds can become damaged, so he was careful to make a secondary mold out of plastic just to be on the safe side.

HbJV75fCastleguard21 / Imgur

Lucy’s father added her name and the details of her birth to this tiny mold as he continued the metal making process. 

2zuWntvCastleguard21 / Imgur


It is incredible how big the box Lucy’s father rigged up has to be in order to get the job done, even though the mold itself is so small!

ptPbPvECastleguard21 / Imgur

Looking at the box from this side it is almost impossible to believe that it could contain such a tender memory. The red paint is used to keep the sand that will eventually cover the mold from adhering to the surface.

xj2KTFsCastleguard21 / Imgur


The next step is to use “Airset” or “no-bake” sand to protect the mold itself and to make sure even the finest details are picked up.

WWD6xRXCastleguard21 / Imgur

A piece of paper was glued over the hole where the molten metal would eventually be poured through to prevent debris from being pulled into the mold. 

yiIL6UCCastleguard21/ Imgur

Lucy’s father prepared many different pieces of paper for this step. He knew that there would be many pours and wanted to have enough paper to get the job done.

IhIDWvaCastleguard21/ Imgur


This is what the mold looked like when it was finally full of molten iron. Most of the sand remained intact, though some of it bubbled up, boiling and burning. 

GszqJJvCastleguard21/ Imgur

Once the mold had cooled and the iron had set, the mold was tossed on the ground outside, where it fell apart revealing the completed iron inside. 

O1NgYOgCastleguard21/ Imgur


The molding process was done, all the remained was to detach the set plaque from the metallic base using foundry tools. 

f3raokJCastleguard21/ Imgur

To get a nice sheen on the finished plaque, Lucy’s dad covered the mold with a layer of olive oil and placed in the oven to bake. After sharing this image, Lucy’s dad learned that using flaxseed oil is another way to keep the cast iron looking beautiful. 

NclG829Castleguard21/Imgur

The finished result was a lovely testimony to a daughter lost too soon. Luckily, her memory will live on forever thanks to this father’s careful work.

6M6kf7GCastleguard21/Imgur

No parent should ever have to experience the tragedy of losing a child. It’s heartwarming that Lucy’s father found a way of using his grief to create such a stunning memorial.

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