Nacogdoches woman makes life-like dolls for families who lose children

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A display of dolls sit inside a Nacogdoches home not for show but for comfort.

"It's the hardest things I do believe a parent could even go through," said Kelley Reiger, Memorial babies.

Kelly Reiger lost her 10 month old daughter nearly 30 years ago, now she's using the lessons she learned from her grief to help parents who've experienced similar loss.

The first memorial baby was made six months ago, inspired by Kelley's daughter Stephanie Michelle.

"Seeing her come to life again so to speak, going step by step, I had different emotions I cried a lot, smiled a lot I hugged it a lot," said Reiger.

Each baby takes about two weeks to make, from the skin, to their eyes and even their hair, Reiger pays close attention to every detail, resurrecting the essence of each child.

"When your arms are aching for that baby or child it helps," said Reiger.

Therapist Angela Cooper says the memorial babies are positive outlet of grief, and an unexpected method of comfort.

"We use our own life experiences especially the struggles that we've been through to help other people it can give us a sense of strength and hope, said Cooper.

Reiger gives the personalized dolls away for free to grieving families at their request.

Hoping to ease the healing process and create a lasting tribute of a life cut short.

"If I could just help one grieving mother it would be worth it to help them not feel so much pain," said Reiger.

So far Reiger has given away 10 dolls and is currently working on two.

To contact Kelly Reiger visit

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