By Clara Hinton
We generally associate the December holidays with festive decorations, gift giving, and the laughter of little children. For a parent who has lost a young child, just the word holiday can cause great emotional pain. It is difficult to walk into a store and be bombarded with all of the reminders of children. The toys, holiday clothes, colorful children’s gift wrap, and the holiday music being sung by young children all bring on waves of grief that are difficult to bear.
Often parents who have lost a young child find themselves falling into a depression around holiday season time. It would be far easier to avoid the holidays than to face the season without the joy of your precious child. With some planning prior to the holiday season, the pain of loss can be softened somewhat.
At some point, though, it becomes necessary to face the reality of the holiday season as being very different. Parents need ways to remember their child during this time of the year. By doing something special, parents will find it a bit easier and far more healing to face the otherwise empty holiday season.
It is quite healing to remember your child by lighting a candle in memory of your little one. The candle can be placed on a decorated table in a special place in your home where you will feel your child is still very close to you. There are many types of memory candles one can buy, and you can place small mementos of your child on the table with the candle. This might be painful to see at first, but it will also create an atmosphere for healing.
Remember your child by placing a special ornament on the tree. There are many stores that will do creative engraving, which you might find to be a desirable option for you. Have a special phrase or saying engraved along with the date of your child’s birth and death. The keepsake ornament will become treasured all the days of your life.
Remember your child by creating a memory box that can be shared with others during the holidays. Use your imagination as to what you want to place in the memory box. You can even decorate the memory box together as a special time of gathering the family together to remember.
Many parents find it very healing to hang a stocking with their child’s name on it by the fireplace mantle. Fill the stocking with some small gifts that were memorable of your child. Also, it might be very healing to write a letter or poem to your child and place it in the stocking. During a family meal, have someone read the letter, then place it in the memory box you’ve created. Each year a letter can be added. This will one day become a family treasure.
If you have some sewing ability, a wonderful way of remembering your child is to create a small quilt from some of your child’s clothes. This quilt will be cherished for years to come, as it will remain a priceless remembrance of your special child.
As you think of ways to remember your child during the holidays, do things that will be healing to your heart. Remember—there is no right or wrong way to remember. Do those things that are healing specifically to you! By remembering and including your child in the holiday, you will promote an atmosphere of healing and hope.
Silent Grief A message of hope for the grieving heart