The holiday season has arrived with all the preparations and celebrations in full swing. This time of year comes with its own excitement, energy and stressors. For those living with the loss of a child, the complexities of emotions and preparations can be amplified. There are many great resources and articles out there floating around. I would encourage you to take a pause and read through a few of them this month to see if there is anything that might connect with where you are and what you might find useful in preparing yourself.
I find kicking off the season by decorating our home and tree to be very comforting, cozy yet often emotional. I remember the year our son passed away it took everything within me to participate in any celebrations or put up a tree. It was difficult to be around large groups of people, even surrounded by loved ones. We did our best for our living son and enjoyed some moments of cheer along the way. When I would break down crying at a song or need to sneak off to a bedroom to escape for a moment, I gave myself the space to do so. As time passed, the holiday’s became more festive again and I do look forward to gatherings, traditions and making new memories.
I also needed to find a way to keep Marshall part of our Christmas then, now and forever. There are so many ways to achieve this. Many of the families I have met along this path have both familiar and unique traditions they to incorporate the memory of their child. From silent pauses, special songs and ornaments, to cookies, storybooks, videos, pictures, and many more. Finding something that is meaningful for you can be very therapeutic.
I am grateful for the number of special Christmas ornaments we have received over the years in memory of Marshall. They mean so much to me. Each one I take time in placing on the tree as I think of him and invite his spirit to be part of our Christmas season. I also think of the people that gave them to us and the way they loved him and cared for us in those darkest of days. These simple ornaments are a tangible way for our family to bring him into our traditions and have his memory be part of our holiday. There are often a few tears shed along the way for all the Christmas’s he won’t be a part of and all the wonder of what might have been. But as I look over at the beautiful ornaments shining on our decorated tree it brings me a sense of comfort throughout the Holiday season. Another little way I carry him with me.