It is no secret the holidays are harder after the loss of a loved one, especially a child. The hole left by their absence gapes wide open. Traditions can feel heavy. A holiday that once brought excitement and joy, feels like a chore to trudge through.
This is a special time of year for family and friends to draw close. Yet, for the bereaved it can feel suffocating and overwhelming. There is guilt in going on as we did before.
Our greatest fear lives in the idea the world will forget. As we bear witness to those around us partaking in joy, that fear becomes reality… even if it’s not true.
For us, Christmas means many things. It used to be our favorite holiday. Family, traditions, Santa, and my birthday all wrapped in one. Now, bears new meaning. The day he was sick. The day he died.
While the holidays will never be the same for us, neither will any other day in our life.
It is important to find ways to incorporate our missing loved ones in the festivities and traditions. While reflection of “before” has become a normal part of our daily lives, we must find ways to remember them more during the holidays. In remembering we attempt to regain a little bit of the joy.
The biggest blessing is when friends and family share in our need to incorporate our loved ones. This is one way our family has done it. Last year, our first year without him, my sister and her family gave up their tradition of a “normal” Christmas tree. Instead, their tree became a beautiful reminder of the boy missing from our life.
Their Christmas tree includes photos from his life, reindeer (after his most beloved possession), and his name… the most precious thing now that he is gone.
It was such a beautiful sentiment, I had to share it.